Using zillow & trulia for comps

weedyacresFebruary 16, 2013

The place we're moving to doesn't have county records online, but trulia and zillow now cover them. I was looking through sold comps on both of them, but they look suspicious.

Exhibit A:
House shows sold on zillow for $396,750, shows sold on trulia for $264,500, same sold date. My recollection is that it was listed in the mid- to high-200's, so I'm sure zillow is wrong.

Exhibit B:
House shows sold on both zillow and trulia for $84,000. I have the MLS sheet and it listed for $59,900 and sold for $56,000, though date is within a week of what zillow and trulia list.

Where do zillow and trulia get their sold data? I guess it's completely unreliable??

This post was edited by weedyacres on Sat, Feb 16, 13 at 15:35

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Only closed sales count.
Some states do not make records available (Texas?) while others do (some even online but often for a monthly access fee).

zillow and other sources would be considered secondary at best. and NOT reliable for lenders.

zillow and others might save you some time at the courthouse or searching by providing clues about recent sales to then look up.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:28AM
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The sold data comes from a variety of sources which varies from state to state and even within states. I never trust it.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:37AM
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In our area the prices on zillow and trulia are to laugh. A friend was looking in a townhouse development where the actual sales in the last year have ranged from $25K to about $90K, and the assessed value is ~60K. According to both zillow and trulia, median price should be ~135K for a unit there. Zillow is more extravagant than trulia, but only a little.

In my own complex the numbers are similarly ludicrous.

This post was edited by writersblock on Sat, Feb 16, 13 at 13:47

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Neither Zillow or Trulia, have the right area pinpointed where my house is located. They are about 4 blocks in the opposition direction on their map. They also have my house as being worth about 25,000.00 more than what it is worth. In the box for the assessed value, they have it assessed for considerably more than what the actual assessed value is, so I would say, they are not reliable about much of anything.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:56PM
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I know that their estimated values are laughable. I was asking about actual closed sale data (see first sentence of my OP).

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Some data can come from realtors filling in a form and submitting it, some from owners claiming the house, public record such as property tax records and other records that are available to tap into publicly and computerized.

In Texas sold prices is not public knowledge or even a requirement to report to any government agency, so tax records or liens (generally mortgage amounts when purchased) or data directly input by people are used. When I sold my house it was for 360K, but the tax value was at 212K so zillow had the house valued at 212K. After I sold it, the value was moved to the new owners mortgage amount, info is available as lien amounts on the tax assessors website. It was the higher number so guess they just picked the higher number.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 3:25PM
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Oh, sorry, weedyacres. Part of my post seems not to have posted. I went on to say that their sale numbers are equally goofy around here. It seems to me that often for sales around here the first listing price gets posted as the final sale price, which of course is usually quite a bit different.

It may be something kind of understandable as lyfla says, but I think their software or their entry/aggregating methods are lacking, myself.

This post was edited by writersblock on Sat, Feb 16, 13 at 16:37

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 4:35PM
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Even if you don't have online public records, weedy, do your RE companies around there have sold ones listed?

In our area, you can search (any number of different RE websites) for SOLD houses (and not just for sale houses). Maybe that would be more reliable.

(johnlscott, for example, has this capability, as does coldwellbanker, and ... I am sure most sites do.)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 4:45PM
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The local real estate brokers around here have uniformly lame websites. Most, when you click on listings, go to the central MLS. The public page of the MLS only allows searches for current listings, and even pendings don't show up.

One of the local sites, when you click on "my listings" by an agent, shows current, plus sold plus withdrawn listings, but I have no idea how aged they are, and they don't have sold price.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:16AM
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