Thursday, September 29, 2011

I hate Zillow and they know nothing about my house. What can I do?

Dear Sunnyview,
We just bought our house about a year ago and I used Zillow to look at houses before that. When I went back to see what our new house looked like, I was furious to find that a lot of information was wrong. I know I can edit my house, but the sales price is wrong and the Zestimate it totally off. This is my house now, everything is wrong and I am so mad I could scream. What can I do?
-Ticked in Tulsa

Dear Ticked,
I can understand your frustration and your desire to correct your home information. Some of the issues you mentioned are definitely fixable by you as an owner. I think that it is important for owners to do what they can to make their home page as accurate as possible. First things first. You need to claim your house by using the yellow "Edit" pencil under the main house photo. Then you will be able to edit the facts with a link in that same "Edit" menu. Your home facts do get figured into the larger numbers like the Zestimate, so you want to make sure that they are totally correct to make the Zillow estimate as accurate as possible.

Owners can edit home facts on their home page, but they can also get other corrections made with Zillow's help. If the recorded sales price is wrong, you can use the small white flag next to the transaction to alert Zillow and ask them to update the information. It is helpful if you can include a link to your local recorder or assessor's office to make the process of checking faster. Your recorded sales price also is used in the larger numbers like the Zestimate so it is definitely worth getting that updated especially if it is low. The changes that you make in your home page will take time usually a couple weeks to start showing up in the larger Zestimate number. Not all changes you make will affect your Zestimate, but many like square footage and bed/bath count do have an effect. Incorrect information often leads to wonky Zestimates.

I think that owners need to take control of their home page as much as possible. Making sure all information is correct including the sales price is one way to do that. You also need to consider adding an owner's description and house photo that you choose yourself. The first thing that anyone looking at your house will key on is the photo even before the Zestimate. Adding your own adds personality to your home page and shows your pride of ownership. Nothing that an owner can do besides editing the home facts and providing the correct information will affect Zillow's opinion of value, but making your page accurate is something that you can do as an owner. Congratulations on your new house and I hope that you can at least make peace with your Zillow home page.

All the best,

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