A baby looks pretty gnarly when it first enters the world and it takes a little while before it’s cleaned up and donned with a stupid pink or blue hat, which is how I saw Zillow when it first came out about a month ago. A review of my home showed it pegged a little higher than two months ago, $282k, but the range of home values for all the townhouses in the same cul-de-sac were all over the map. I don’t understand how they could differ in value by more than a few thousand dollars when Zillow knows nothing about the differentiation of the homes in the neighborhood.
I reviewed the Maryland Real Property Database to see what our various tax assessments were, just to see if that’s where Zillow received it’s information. My home was assessed at a higher value (because I just bought it) whereas my neighbor, who had a $330k zestimate to my $282k zestimate, had an assessment lower than mine. It’s not like I’m crying sour grapes anything, a zestimate means nothing to me, but it seems as thought the zestimates still have no rhyme or reason to them.
A month later Zillow appears to be as inaccurate as when it first appeared despite claims that they obtain facts about a home from “multiple providers, including public sources such as a county assessor’s office.”
There was one new innovation that I recognized and that was the integration of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth that permitted a “bird’s eye” view of the lot. You could rotate the camera and see the house from any of the four sides as long as you were looking at an area that supported it. Unfortunately my area didn’t so I couldn’t take advantage of it.
So, two months later the accuracy of the pricing of the homes is still questionable and there have been a few small innovations, at least superficially, with the services that they provide (free services I might add). That’s why it’s still in beta.