It appears that Zillow is being sued by a homeowner who believes that the low “Zestimate” provided on their website is adversely affecting the sale of her home.
On their site, Zillow clearly states that they do not consider their Zestimate to be an “appraisal”. However, many home buyers and sellers trust them as if they were.
In this case, the buyer believes that her home is worth significantly more than Zillow’s Zestimate states and it is significantly reducing the offers she is receiving on her home.
On the contrary, I often speak with sellers who trust Zillow’s over estimation of their home’s value despite being shown factual data regarding local market sales.
In my personal case, Zillow has my home estimated at almost $100,000 above its actual value. Also, it provides inaccurate information regarding the past sales history which I will certainly want to get cleared up before I choose to sell.
The fact is, Zillow has no actual knowledge of the real estate markets they service and no way of knowing how one home in a neighborhood compares to another. They are simply using an algorithm to parse public data to generate an estimate of value. This is why no one, buyer or seller, should venture into a real estate transaction without a knowledgeable professional on their side!
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I’m guessing that Zillow most likely has lawyers on staff who argue these types of cases every day.