How to edit your home information in Zillow

The Mighty Zestimate

Seems like with the merger of Zillow and Trulia the formers attempt at helping you estimate the value of your home with their zestimate will be around for a while. Have you ever wondered how they calculate your zestimate? Would you like to find out how to edit your home information in Zillow to get a more accurate zestimate? If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions then you’ve come to the right place.

I constantly get asked by homeowners how close my appraisal on their home will be to their zestimate value and I take the time to educate them that what I am doing is much more detailed that what Zillow does and is based on more accurate information. If you were to compare a Zillow estimate to a gun it would be more similar to a shotgun because its accuracy is not as focused as that of a rifle. The shotgun produces a more spread out shot while the rifle focuses its shot in a more narrow concentrated area. Most zestimate ranges can be pretty wide and not as accurate. An appraisal done by a home appraiser who physically visits your home, measures it, and takes detailed information related to materials and quality of construction, will give you a better estimate of value similar to the focused aim of a rifle.

Editing Your Home Info. In Zillow

How to edit Zillow informationOne of the biggest problems that Zillow has is that the data it uses to come up with home values is taken from county records, which has varying degrees of accuracy. Today I will walk you through the process to change your home’s physical characteristics within the Zillow website so that your zestimate will be based on more accurate information. Its possible that your zestimate value may not be affected however because it depends on what data you change. If the edited data does impact the value the change may occur over time. Their website says that home values are refreshed three times a week to reflect newer sales information as well as more accurate information added by homeowners.

So lets take a look at how to makes changes to the information Zillow uses to estimate your home’s value. You can view this video or follow the steps below. If you can’t see the video click here.

  1. Claim Your Home- You must register with Zillow to make changes. Registration consists of signing up and typing in your email address and choosing a password. After you register and sign in you will then type your address into the search bar.
  2. Correct Home Facts- After you type in your address you will click on the address on the map and choose “correct home facts”. You can also click on the “more” tab and choose “claim this home”.
  3. Choose Owner- You may be given two options to choose the owner of the home. One consists of a list of various names including yours, which you will choose and click on it. The other option may ask you for your name and phone number. Either way will allow you to claim your home.
  4. Make Changes- After you claim your home you can modify the home facts by clicking “edit” on the menu bar. This will take you to a screen that provide various home feature options which you use to describe your home. Scroll through all of the options and add information about your home, and make sure the square footage and bedroom/bath count are correct. You can get accurate square footage for your home from a previous appraisal if you have one.
  5. Save The Changes- After you have edited your home’s physical characteristics save the changes. Your are now finished!
Zestimate Is Not An Appraisal

The process to claim your home and edit the information is straight forward, however it could increase the accuracy of the zestimate. I don’t place a lot of value on the zestimate because it does not take a detailed look at your home like an appraiser would if they were measuring and walking through your home. It does not see the quality of construction or materials and it does not sift through sales data to choose the most relevant and similar sales like a live appraiser would. You can find out how accurate Zillow is in your area by reading a previous post and watching the vidoe that goes with it. The following quote is taken from the Zillow website. It is an answer to an FAQ asking whether the zestimate is an appraisal:

No. The zestimate is not an appraisal and you won’t be able to use it in place of an appraisal, though you can certainly share it with real estate professionals. It is a computer-generated estimate of the worth of a house today, given the available data. Zillow does not offer the zestimate as the basis of any specific real-estate-related financial transaction. Our data sources may be incomplete or incorrect; also, we have not physically inspected a specific home. Remember, the zestimate is a starting point and does not consider all the market intricacies that can determine the actual price a house will sell for.

The Best Choice

The best way to get the most accurate value estimate on your home is with an appraisal by a local and experienced appraiser. If you have any questions about zestimates or appraisals feel free to contact me I look forward to speaking with you.

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Comments

  1. I am more concerned that Zillow is showing my house as “Off Market” when it is “For Sale”, and the only status that has changed is price reduction. I have contacted them, and they claim they are getting the information from an MLS feed, but the feed goes out to all the local realtors, who are reflecting the “For Sale” status, with the price reduction correct.
    It was solely their decision to reflect “Off Market”, and they refuse to change it. Their partner site Trulia, is showing the estimated “value” (which they can’t even have a clue, as they have never seen or appraised it), but doesn’t show market status. All the local realtors show this house as for sale.
    It is so frustrating, since this site is national, and so many people search it to let their realtor know their interests, vs looking at individual realtor sites. This is causing me potential financial harm, as the price reductions are a good draw for potential buyers.
    So over Zillow.

    • I totally understand your frustration Susan. Zillow seems to play by their own rules and does things on their own timeline. I’m not sure how long your house has been on the market but many of the MLS’s across the country quit sending their listings to Zillow so if this occurred between some of the activity on your home it could explain it. Another recent article I read about Zillow indicates that some of the homes that they are showing are not even listed for sale, which complicates matters for those searching for a home to buy. On another note, value estimates by either Trulia or Zillow are comical at best, however I think most people are starting to realize this. I’m including a link to a recent article by Bill Gassett regarding Zillow so I hope it is helpful. Here’s the link:
      http://www.maxrealestateexposure.com/some-zillow-listings-are-not-for-sale/

    • Yes, causing you financial harm. I absolutely agree. Their “algorithm “ does not take into consideration my home’s total tear down and reconstruction? How horrendous. Totally unacceptable and financially, VERY harmful. And they will not “allow” you to remove your home from their inventory? What? Why?

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