Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Zillow On The Mesa

I am going to admit right off the bat I don't know how Zillow works. But I decided to play around with it for a short while and I am going to focus my post today on the properties that they are showing for sale on The Mesa or zip 93109. I was at first intrigued to see that I could do a search for homes listed for sale in the 93109 zip code and up they popped on a very nice map. My first thought was that Zillow was getting information from the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors and so this information would pretty much mirror that information. I started clicking on the icons to see some of the details of the properties and this is where things got interesting. The first property I clicked on was a home just around the corner from where I live. It is listed with a local realtor but was showing in Zillow as a for sale by owner. So, I went to view the listing on that agents site and I found all the property information to be the same. Zillow did have an advertisement from a competing agent, interesting. The next couple of properties I clicked on were properties that I know are listed with agents, but they appeared to be entered in to Zillow by someone that wasn't associated with the property. Just someone that is a member of Zillow. So I decided to go to the agents websites and view the listing pages that are up for these listings and guess what? The prices didn't match what was listed on Zillow. I wonder what problems this may cause someone, if any. Zillow does have a little link at the bottom that allows the agent or seller to claim this listing, which I suppose let's them modify it. I clicked on a fourth listing and low and behold it looked like the agent who had it listed was also uploading the listing on Zillow. That last one made some sense to me. I then clicked on a few more and one alarming trend was I saw a few properties showing as for sale that had closed escrow. My thoughts are this, if you are an agent you should probably be keeping an eye out for any of your listings that may show up on Zillow. If you are a buyer you may want to do a more extensive investigation of a property before relying too much on anything you see on Zillow.com. See You In Escrow!

8 comments:

kathleen said...

Greg, whenever I list a property, I always go on Zillow and update the information. The value shown by Zillow is usually significantly lower than my value (list price), and the amenities shown are few and far between. It only takes about 10 minutes a listing to update with written information and photos. In addition, Zillow sends reminders every month to ask about the status of the property - active, pending, or sold.

Greg Knowles said...

That is good to know Kathleen, because like I said in my post I'm not that familiar with how Zillow works. I don know I've seen listings with the wrong price and or that are sold posted by someone that wasnt't the seller or agent. Have a great year!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Zillow should be responsible for receiving the listing information from a reliable source (i.e. MLS), and updating it at some reasonable frequency such as monthly. It should *not* be the responsibility of individual listing agents to maintain the accuracy of these sites.

Drew Meyers said...

Greg-
Welcome to Zillow & I'm glad you've taken the time to start figuring your way around the site. We do have a "report for sale" feature that lets any member of the community tell us a home is for sale. That said, you're certainly right that the listing agent can always trump a community member and take over the posting.

anonymous-
We 100% agree with you that an automated update straight from brokerages is the ideal solution. As a result, we launched the Zillow feeds program about a month ago. You can learn about it here.

Greg Knowles said...

Drew, thanks very much for the education. I know Zillow gets a number of visits a day and I was very interested in the information you linked to regarding the feeds program. Thanks for stopping by and I'll be doing my best to keep the local folks here in the know about Zillow.

Greg Knowles said...

I just wanted to leave a follow up. I joined Zillow and posted this message on their forums.

I am a new member to Zillow and have been doing some searching. There is a person going by the nickname of Paseo in the Santa Barbara area that has posted a ton of listings. These listings were posted about 6 months ago as best I can tell. The information is old and not getting updated and I'm sure is causing lots of confusion for people looking for properties in the Santa Barbara area. I emailed this person going by the name Paseo and never got a response. Can Zillow do something to clean up this information as it is not good to have out there, especially since it is soooo much from one person. Thanks!http://www.zillow.com/forum/site/ViewThread.htm?tid=16888

Let's see what happens.

For Sale By Owner said...

Thanks for the informative article. I like also Fizber.com. I've once visited real estate website Fizber.com and now I visit it every time I need some information on the topic of real estate. This site has plenty of services, for example Services Search

Greg Knowles said...

I just wanted to give you all the outcome of my communications with Zillow. They told me since nobody had complained about the listings they weren't able to do anything about them. Thougth everyone should know. For Sale By Owner, thanks for the comment.

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