Zillow’s “Zestimates” seem to be taken for granted by consumers. Zillow has spent considerable advertising dollars encouraging consumers to find the value of their home by going to Zillow.com for a Zestimate. And, it’s worked. So well, in fact, that they have been served with a class action complaint by suburban Chicago home builders. They argue that home buyers believe Zillow’s Zestimate to be a formal appraisal of their home.
In a news release, Zillow said that “to homeowners, sellers and buyers, the Zestimate home valuation remains an important data point. Combined with other information, like recent home sales, and the guidance of real estate professionals, the Zestimate helps consumers make smarter financial decisions.”
At any rate, Zillow wants to improve the accuracy of their Zestimates. “The next round of innovation will come from imaginative solutions involving everything from deep learning to hyperlocal data sets — the type of work perfect for crowdsourcing within a competitive environment,” says Zillow’s chief analytics officer, Stan Humphries.
So Zillow is offering a $1 million award to the person or team who can most improve the Zestimate algorithm. Anyone interested in offering a solution has until Oct. 16, 2017, to compete in the qualifying round. The top 100 entries from that round will be invited to participate in the final round, which is slated to begin Feb. 1, 2018, and end Jan. 15, 2019.
Improvements can most likely be made. But it’s virtually impossible for Zestimate accuracy to be significantly improved in an area like Manhattan, Hermosa or Redondo Beach. The closer you are to the ocean, the more error you’re likely to have. How big is your view? Are you on a walk street? Do you have a south facing view? Have you remodeled your home or made improvements?
If you’re looking for an accurate valuation of your property, call a Realtor.