Zillow facing lawsuit over inaccurate estimates

One of the most popular real estate sites is facing a lawsuit for inaccurate home values.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The real estate website app called Zillow is being sued for listing inaccurate estimates of home values.

The suit filed in Illinois alleges the company used a tool on its app called "Zestimates" that repeatedly undervalued a home and created a "tremendous roadblock" to the sale of that home.

John Green with Wilkinson Real Estate in Charlotte is not a fan of Zillow

"It gives a false impression that this is really the value of my home," he said.

Using Zestimates, it is possible to find estimated prices for thousands of homes across the country.

Green pointed out a section of the website where Zillow rates its own accuracy of those estimates.

In the Charlotte market, Zillow gives itself only two out of four stars.

Said Green, For the average person, basing the biggest financial decision they are ever going to have in their life on that, it's not helpful."

In a statement on their app, Zillow says "It's (Zestimates) a starting point in determining a home's value and is not an official estimate."

Zillow reached out to NBC Charlotte regarding the lawsuit and issued the following statement:

We believe the claims in this case are without merit. We always say that the Zestimate is a starting point to determine a home's value, and isn't an official appraisal.
What’s more, the plaintiff can update her own Zestimate by adding the square footage of her home to her for-sale-by-owner listing. If she did that, she would see an immediate adjustment to her Zestimate. 
The Zestimate is a computer-generated, estimated market value that we create for more than 100 million homes. It’s a starting point for determining your home’s value. When it comes time to sell, we always recommend homeowners work with a local real estate agent to determine the best price and marketing strategy. 

Estimating value based on public information and statistics in the industry is a well-accepted practice that Zillow, as well as numerous of our competitors, engage in, and which consumers find useful and interesting. In fact, even the Illinois appraisal statute that the plaintiff mentions in her complaint approves of these practices. It acknowledges the difference between an appraisal (an assessment of the value of a specific home, based on a physical inspection by a licensed professional) and a statistical estimate based on public information.

Green says he has had sellers quote him the Zillow estimate and what he tells them is, "well, call Zillow and see if they will write you a check."

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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