The War For/Against Transparency in Real estate Continues

From The Consumerist comes an Associated Press breaking story that Arizona bars online home price estimatorZillow is facing more scrutiny and attack by the good ole’ boys with Arizona banning Zillow’s business model based on the claim that they are not licensed to do appraisals.  A very interesting attempt by the traditional real estate establishment to shoot Zillow in the foot.  I’m certain that Zillow will be back in full force in Arizona where I can only speculate that their data is likely more accurate than it is in areas like the New York City area.

Regarding accuracy of their data, the famous/infamous Zestimator gets it’s reputation based solely on who you speak to.  Christine Forgione of NY Houses 4 Sale posted a very enlightening piece on her blog entitled Dear Mr. Seller where she explains the downsides of the Zillow "zestimating" tool and how it is still often a hindrance in the New York City market as it frequently undervalues property.  An anecdote: I just sold and closed on something yesterday that Zillow estimated to be valued at more than $1M less than the sales price.  A dangerous "error" to say the least.  I’m still not convinced that Zillow has become an effective marketing tool in the Manhattan real estate market but I remain open minded and will continue to watch their evolution with hopes that someday soon Zillow will indeed become another powerful tool to add to my marketing "tool box."  For now, it’s not even close to being that.  It’s a lot of fun to play with though.

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