The CEO Of Zillow Says You Still Need To Ask A Real Estate Agent What Your Home Is Worth

The CEO Of Zillow Says You Still Need To Ask A Real Estate Agent What Your Home Is Worth

A decade ago, when the real-estate bubble was reaching its peak and homeowners were giddy about the rise in home values, plugging in addresses at the new website Zillow became a national pastime.

“People ‘Zillowed’ their Christmas list. They would go and look up the home value of their boss and ex-girlfriend and ex-wife and their neighbors,” said Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO. The site was originally built around these automated valuations (or “Zestimates”)—in 2006, not a single for-sale listing was posted on the site. It now has millions of listings and agent reviews, among other features.

Knowing the estimated value of a home was power—or at the very least, juicy gossip. That’s why it was so surprising that Rascoff sold a Seattle investment property earlier this year for $1.1 million—far less than its Zestimate of $1.7 million. This particular house, he said, was located on a major arterial street, a fact that wasn’t baked into the Zestimate.

The founders of the site always viewed the Zestimate as a starting point, a figure that would give a general sense of a home’s worth, Rascoff said. Zillow was never meant to replace real-estate agents (as travel sites such as Hotwire, which he co-founded, essentially did for travel agents), but to give consumers access to home-value information that real-estate agents were once gatekeepers of.

“We call it a Zestimate and not a zeppraisal and not a zeprice. It’s meant to be a starting point,” Rascoff said. “To determine a more accurate opinion of a home’s value you should hire a real-estate agent, or more to the point, you should sell the house and then you will know how much it’s worth.”
Continue reading/via Marketwatch

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