Ah, the ZillowÂ zestimate. The real estate estimate that makes things clear as mud. While I run into “interesting” valuations on Zillow on a regular basis here in the city, they’ve got one in Ohio that really takes the cake for the divergent valuations presented by the listing agent and thatÂ lovable Zillow algorithm they call the Zestimate.
In this case, the estate is listed for $19,500,000. Zillow, however, reports the value as being $913,800 with a range of $832,000 to $1,210,000. Which presents a modest difference of, oh, roughly $18,500,000.
In fairness to Zillow, the valuation of one-of-a-kind properties like Waterwood Estate is an incredibly challenging art. While I have no experience with the luxury market along the shores of Lake Erie, I do know that in San Francisco high-end luxury properties take longer to sell, and generally have several price reductions during the life of the listing.
But really, Zillow, $913,800? Your Zestimate is like the ultimate lowball offer.
My experience with the Zillow Zestimate in San Francisco is that it is often wildly inaccurate. While I’ve never seen the logic and programming behind their valuation model, I think it has a hard time with San Francisco because our neighborhoods are (for the most part) not homogenous. While it might work well in suburbia, where the houses were all built at roughly the same time with roughly the same features, layouts, and options, in San Francisco our mix of housing stock (units, condos, single families all on the same block) really throws their data model a curve ball.
While Zillow goes out of their way to explain their data inaccuracies, actually understanding what they are saying requires a decent understanding of statistics – or at least a good 20 – 30 minutes to dive into the data and get more familiar with it. My experience is that for better or worse, people see their value estimate and take it as the final word.
And while I’m no fan of the drop ceiling, I’m fairly confident this estate will sell for much more than the Zestimate.