Zillow says my primary residence is in pre-foreclosure... except it's not

19 Replies

So this is kind of bizarre. Back in March, I was browsing Zillow and looked up my house. It was listed as being in pre-foreclosure! For information, I bought this house in August of 2013 and have been living there ever since, paying my mortgage and taxes, and being blissfully unaware of it's status on Zillow.

All attempts to contact Zillow and request a correction resulted in automatic replies saying my request was documented. Checking my account on Zillow, I see a total of four requests being created as a result of me emailing them, but all of them are marked "Solved"! The status of my house has not changed.

So shortly after discovering this, I contacted the circuit court clerk, who checked the records and said that everything looked fine and the only documents they had on record were a deed, 1 deed of trust (mortgage), 1 refinance deed of trust, and 1 certificate of satisfaction saying that a mortgage has been paid off (I refinanced the house last year).

My very natural question is - WTF? Where does Zillow get it's information and, more importantly, how do I get them to fix this? I'm thinking this can't be good for the resale value of my house :-(

Any advice greatly appreciated.

It only shows, once again, how unreliable Zillow is. Someone else posted today a scam being ran on Zillow, where the scammer posted a FSBO saying they are giving a house at a great price and want a $1,000 from you to lock the deal. They not only don't own the property but they use a local Google Voice number to pretend they live in the USA.

Zillow uses "pre foreclosures" and "make me an offer" and all sort of other little inventions as a gimmick to attract buyers that would turn into leads they can sell to Realtors at a VERY high price! That is how Zillow makes money: charging Realtors for leads and for being on their platform, so if a specific Realtor is not on Zillow, or s/he has little presence, it simply means s/he is not paying Zillow.

We have properties listed for sale on the MLS and Zillow is showing them OFF THE MARKET. Their customer service is not responsive. We just need to keep trying and sharing these issues so hopefully buyers and sellers pay attention and pay Zillow the attention it deserves!

Agreed, @Josie Roman .  Zillow is decent for browsing what's available in a neighborhood, but in my experience the foreclosure stuff on there is very hit or miss.

@Kevin Siedlecki

I guess it depends on what you call "decent". When you have a platform that prouds itself of offering accurate real estate market information and values, and half of the properties listed are NOT on the market, while half of the actual listings do NOT show on said platform... I guess I'm picky :)

You also need to know that most of the FSBO are fake, either created by Zillow's system or by local agents trying to get buyers leads.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
Josie Roman

@Josie Roman thanks for your support, sounds like a systemic problem, rather than an exception

@James Wise thanks for the much needed laugh

Just out of curiosity - can I sue Zillow for lying about my house?

I wouldn't worry too much about it. An appraiser isn't going to use Zillow to determine the value of your house if you decide to sell it. 

Originally posted by @Leonid Sapronov :

@Josie Roman thanks for your support, sounds like a systemic problem, rather than an exception

@James Wise thanks for the much needed laugh

Just out of curiosity - can I sue Zillow for lying about my house?

Zillow has about a million disclaimers that says the info isn't accurate, can't be depended on and not to be used for anything.  And what would be the damages that you would be suing for exactly?

Save your energy, brain cells and legal dollars for something more worthwhile. 

My experience is that all of those sites, whether for sales or rentals, are notoriously unreliable. Whenever I've compared houses in my neighborhood against the sites, they're always wrong. They'll have a house renting for $1200 that I know is renting for $1600. The same thing for sales. They show my house's market value at $158,000 when I know, based on actual comps, that's its market value is more like $220,000.

But incorrectly showing a house as a foreclosure? That's a new one for me.

Zillow isn't an accurate place to get information (foreclosure or otherwise), there really isn't anything for you to do. Their Zestimate (which isn't even a word) is also so unreliable its not funny. You're far better off doing the research yourself and pulling any data you want from the MLS (which still isn't 100% accurate, but much better).

-Christopher

Christopher Brainard, Real Estate Agent in NV (#177490)

Originally posted by @Christopher Brainard :

Zillow isn't an accurate place to get information (foreclosure or otherwise), there really isn't anything for you to do. Their Zestimate (which isn't even a word) is also so unreliable its not funny. You're far better off doing the research yourself and pulling any data you want from the MLS (which still isn't 100% accurate, but much better).

-Christopher

 I was having so many issues with Zillow that I just stopped using it. Realtor.com is far more accurate. 

Anthony Gayden

    @Account Closed , @Fred Heller , @Christopher Brainard , @Anthony G. - I agree, Zillow is not accurate. I only use it sometimes it to get a bird's eye view of the market. It just bothers me that if I ever do decide to sell my house, this might scare off potential buyers. And they are spreading lies about my beautiful house!!

    Last week, our apartment (our primary - we are living in it and have been for the last 8 years) came up for rent on Zillow!

    We called the rental agent to let her know. She said she randomly picked an apartment #, so that people won't just randomly show up at the empty apartment at all hours. To that golden nugget, we said:

    1. our building is secured with passcode and you need a key to get inside the building. So not just anyone can get inside. I don't think the agent has been to the building...

    2. if she did not want random people to pop up at the empty apartment, was she then ok with random people popping up at an occupied apartment?! so genious....(no one popped up, btw, because #1 above).

    The universe has taken pity on me! This is the email I got from Zillow today (after submitting request #4, which contained words like "unacceptable" and "ridiculous"):

    "Hello,

    I apologize that your previous tickets had been closed without resolution. I will ensure this issue is resolved via this ticket. I received your request to remove the erroneous foreclosure status from your property page. I understand and share your concern that you do not want false foreclosure information listed on your property page.

    I removed the foreclosure status from the top of your property page. The foreclosure transaction is still appearing in the price history section, but I have removed that from our database and it should remove from the live site within one week.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention and allowing us the opportunity to correct it. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused in the meantime. Please let me know if you have questions and I'll be happy to help."

    Woohoo, I win! Thanks to everyone for their support!

    @Kevin Siedlecki

    I guess it depends on what you call "decent". When you have a platform that prouds itself of offering accurate real estate market information and values, and half of the properties listed are NOT on the market, while half of the actual listings do NOT show on said platform... I guess I have 

    You also need to know that most of the FSBO are fake, either created by Zillow's system or by local agents trying to get buyers leads.

    Some of our private/hard money lenders don't even look at your credit- they just look at the deal.

    As a Realtor, I just have to share two storys.

    Story #1.  There's a 2-unit condo in my town with an address that we'll call 123 Main St.  (it's not the real address)

    I was retained to list 123 Main St, Unit 1 on MLS and to market the property.

    123 Main St, Unit 2 is not on the market, but was at some point in the past, so there were historical photos somewhere in the ether.

    Zillow fabricated an entirely new listing called 123 Main St (no unit number) which combined the photos from Unit 1 and Unit 2 and uses some "home facts" from each.

    I found out when an irate agent asked me where I got off using her photos for my listing. (She had previously sold Unit 2).  

    Multiple complaints to Zillow = 0 results.  Checking again today - several months later - that mythical property is still on Zillow.

    Story #2. A local small business run out of a home was listed on MLS as a business opportunity at $25,000. Zillow picked that up and listed the ~$475,000 HOUSE for sale at $25,000. I know - it's MY house.

    I think @Josie Roman is correct.  Zillow's primary goal is to separate Realtors from their money.

    Charlie MacPherson, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9532146)

    For future reference, I have e-mailed zillow on a number of issues and NEVER gotten satisfactory results. A year or so ago, I switched to calling their 800 number. Results are IMMEDIATE... much easier. Just call them.

    The issue regarding story 1 is a "new improvement" to Zillow.  It takes multi-resi properties and creates a single access point (you think your customer was mad... imagine what happens in high-rise condos...it gets ugly).  

    We fought and fought with zillow on this, but they are too busy buying up smaller companies like Dotloop to care about our thoughts.

    This post has been removed.

    Originally posted by @Leonid Sapronov :

    @Josie Roman thanks for your support, sounds like a systemic problem, rather than an exception

    @James Wise thanks for the much needed laugh

    Just out of curiosity - can I sue Zillow...

    It depends... do you feel defamed or that their action (or inaction) have inflicted some sort of emotional distress on you? cast you in a false light? etc.? 

    If you have documentation of having advised them of an error repeatedly and they just blatantly refused to correct the issue -- it sounds like they may just be clueless of what may occur if you intend to push it.

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