1:00 Minute Read.
Most agents hate Zillow. And it’s understandable. Its information is often wrong and can make agents look foolish. However, I’ve learned how to use it to my advantage.
My first encounter with Zillow was horrible. A prospective client waited until I offered my valuation of his home before he pulled out his Zestimate to prove me wrong. While time proved my valuation was actually correct, I wondered how many agents have lost listings from the same situation. Or worse, how many sales were lost as sellers clung to unreasonable expectations. I went through a phase of denial, telling clients to not pay attention to it but that didn’t work. Now, I hit the subject head-on and weave the Zestimate into my CMA presentation –and it works perfectly.
“Good data is like ammo. Carry plenty of it with you.”
I ripped the following verbiage from my own listing presentation. Hope it helps you:
“When determining the value of your property, I look at several models to create a range of values.
First, lets look at forecasted appreciation. Applying local appreciation rates, I used your purchase date and price to calculate what the value of your home should be today. (Our company provides an Excel spreadsheet for listing presentations. Insert a few numbers and voila - out pops an Appreciation Forecaster, Prorated Tax Worksheet and an Estimated Net Sheet)
Secondly, lets look at what the algorithms have to say about the value of your home. While algorithms have gotten better in recent years, their problem is still the same - they’re just computer generated numbers. Algorithms cannot smell your neighbor’s house, or sense how well maintained your home is compared with others in the area. There are just too many subjective details algorithms can’t know or understand. They’re just guesses. Two algorithms I’ll mention are Zillow and RPR, the algorithm that agents use. They place the value of your home at… In my experience, I found these algorithms for this area to be on the (high/low/correct) side of actual sales.
Thirdly, here is the Comparative Market Analysis. This is actual, real-time activity. Lets look at it from two perspectives. Our first CMA is your neighborhood activity. This is a list of every home in your area that is active, pending, sold or expired. This information will give you a sense of this neighborhood’s market value. Our second CMA takes a broader view. It includes all houses matching your home’s description that’s located within the school district. When a buyer is qualified to buy a home up to “$X”, they will want to see every house available in that price range. This is your real competition and you need to know how your house compares with those other properties.”
Using these 5 values, I’ve presented a well-researched, professional opinion to my clients – and Zillow helped me do it. Every homeowner knows and likes Zillow. Often, it’s the only piece of data they have before contacting an agent. It’s our job to put it in the right perspective for clients to give them a well-rounded view of their property’s value. As more web-based tools become available to the public, savvy agents will embrace them – even if we don’t like them.
Looking to sell better homes…