Wangsness Connections
Wangsness Connections
Wangsness Connections
Wangsness Connections
Wangsness Connections
Wangsness Connections

Real Estate Articles

If It Bleeds, It Leads, even if it's WRONG!

Zillow and their automated evaluations, Zestimates, were big news on Tuesday, February 8, 2011, after the front page article in the Seattle Times that said that one-third of the homes in the Seattle area were valued less than the mortgage amount.  

The news media covered the story all day and into the night. One big problem, the statement was WRONG!  A correction (one-third of the homes with mortgages are valued less than the mortgage amount) was published the next day in the very small correction area, but no news channels covered the correction and we don’t believe that the correction is still accurate.
At first glance, those of us in the business knew that something was very wrong. We know that Zillow is less reliable in this area because of the way their system is designed.  Zillow relies on county records, which are slow to update here and there are so many neighborhoods that are not homogeneous.  Neighborhoods in Kirkland, Medina, Clyde Hill, and Bellevue are just a few of the neighborhoods on the Eastside that are “eclectic.” There are old houses next to new houses, renovated houses next to original homes and everything in between, not to mention that sales of homes are not recorded with all of the details that might affect price.
Every prospective client we speak to, whether buyer or seller, has already checked Zillow. Buyers like it because it tells them that the house they want is worth far less than the list price.  Sellers are offended because Zillow doesn’t take into account that their house is better than the one that sold down the street for more.  Relocating buyers think that our market might be worse than where they came from.
If you purchased your home in the last four years and you had to put it on the market today, you may very well come out with less money then you had when you started.  It costs about 8.5-9% to sell a home here, with commissions, closing costs and excise tax.  If you purchased your home in the last 10 years and you didn’t take out the equity, you would most likely still be ahead of the game.   Approximately one-third of the homes here are free and clear.  The rest of the homes weren’t all purchased in the last four years, so those are likely still in safe territory.
If you have any particular questions regarding the valuation of your home or one that you are considering buying, let us know.   We can give you a valuation that is closer to reality.