Weird Zillow story with clues about how it works

rrahFebruary 26, 2013

As some of you may know, I previously was a Realtor. My listings always were on Zillow, and I kept track of them there by signing up as a Realtor. After I quit RE I tried to remove my Zillow and Trulia memberships. I didn't want my name and contact info out there any longer. I recall I was successful in getting myself off of Zillow but not Trulia.

Every few months I google myself to see if my name is still showing up on RE sites. Slowly it is moving back to the second and third pages of searches, but I have noticed it still shows up on old Zillow listings with my contact info.

Yesterday I received a phone call from someone asking me about an old listing. This house was listed in Dec. 2009 and sold in the Spring of 2010. It is apparently listed again. The nice man asked me about the house. I explained that I'm no longer an agent, and that I sold the house a few years ago. I asked how he got my contact info associated with the house. He said he saw it on Zillow. After a bit more explanation and questions by both of us, he indicated my name and contact info was in the house description for the current listing.

My first thought was that the current agent was a bit lazy and re-used my original description. That was partially true, but not entirely. After a bit of web searching on various sites I found the agent had written a new (or at least edited me out of it) description, but Zillow had pulled up my original description with my information. This description also included info about several seller incentives that are no longer true: a warranty and closing costs. I also discovered that Zillow inserted my old listing photos along with the new photos.

If I remember correctly agents are able to "claim" an address on Zillow for a listing. This allows them to view Zillow activity on a property. This is something I always did. I guess once it is claimed it remains claimed and that info is reused.

Zillow "keeps" the old listing information (photos, descriptions,etc) and incorporates it with new info if/when a house is listed again. Curiously enough, Zillow didn't have the final sales price correct--as usual.

The new agent also apparently doesn't check her listings on Zillow.

This post was edited by rrah on Tue, Feb 26, 13 at 7:34

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DLM2000

This was on the news here today - just one more reason why Zillow is never a place I go for info.

Here is a link that might be useful: False foreclosure information

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 3:02PM
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marys1000

I usually go to zillow because it shows lot lines and lot is probably more important to me than house.

If zillow is so...crummy........which is best? And why?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 6:28PM
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LuAnn_in_PA

Zillow is the pits in my area... lots go for more than the house prices listed in some neighborhoods!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 7:10PM
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LOTO

Zillow is a joke...I just sold my house and Zillow had the sale price $325,000.00 off.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 7:42PM
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adellabedella_usa

Zillow has been pricing my house as an average of houses sold and empty lots. My house has been showing up as about $175K LESS than building price. So far, housing prices even on the 'used' houses appears to be appreciating. Right not, I think the listed estimate is probably $35K or so from where it should sell.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:41PM
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chispa

If Redfin.com covers your area, that is a great site for RE info. You can search sold properties too. It is updated daily. I keep up with specific towns in MA and CA markets and the redfin data is current and accurate.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:57PM
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kirkhall

Redfin, johnlscott, cbbain, etc. All the real estate sites usually have search capabilities for SOLD homes in the area (not just those listed with their office/brand name either). So, if I really want to know about an area, I go to one of those. If I want to know about a specific house, I go to the county website for property information (our area has a very thorough county parcel info website).

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:33PM
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