Zillow took steps to quiet the critics of its long-embattled Zestimate on Friday.
A new Zestimate feature lets homeowners update details about their house, including square footage, that are then immediately factored into their home value estimate. Though homeowners have already been able to update the specifics of a house on the listing service, it previously took weeks for the home’s Zestimate to reflect any changes to those details.
The company has admitted its Zestimates are just estimates and may vary widely — 8-10 percent — from the home’s actual value. But that number is an average, and locally it can vary much more, as real estate columnist Kenneth Harney recently pointed out. That local variation can amount to a difference of tens of thousands of dollars between a home’s Zestimate and its approximate market value.
In a news release, Zillow said it would factor in changes a homeowner made to a home’s number of bedrooms or baths, square footage, year built or remodel year and immediately change the Zestimate to reflect those changes. How much the Zestimate would change will depend on where the home is located and the edits themselves.
“Our algorithm has no way of knowing as much about a given property as the people that own it,” Zillow economist Stan Humphries said, “which is why we enable homeowners to provide the most up-to-date information about their home, and why it is important to have the Zestimate reflect that information in real time.”
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/zillow_moves_to_make_zestimate_more_accurate/9587
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