Any way to get the zestimate changed?

26 Replies

Installed a $100,000 dock a couple years ago with all the proper permits 

Zestimate has not changed in 3 years by more than a couple percent 

Anyway to let Zillow know in hopes they will increase the zestimate 

Remains the same as a neighboring house with no dock. 

Zillow uses the public tax records for the zestimate, which is why it is not accurate for market value. The only way to change it is to get your county tax assessor to increase the value of your property, which will increase the amount of taxes that you pay.

Originally posted by @Anthony Dooley :

Zillow uses the public tax records for the zestimate, which is why it is not accurate for market value. The only way to change it is to get your county tax assessor to increase the value of your property, which will increase the amount of taxes that you pay.

I did. It know that

To me that sounds very strange

I own Two houses on the same street both assessed the same amount.   No the were built two years ago.   One has a zestimate 15% higher than the other 

@Michael Plante

You can actually claim a house with Zillow and update the stats. I was getting a HELOC earlier in the year and found out that they weigh heavily on the Zillow zestimate, so I claimed my house and updated the info that they use to compute value. You can change bedrooms, bathrooms, livable square footage, date of most recent remodel, etc. I believe @Anthony Dooley is correct for the homes that do not get claimed and updated, they will use the county tax assessor data as default values until someone claims and updates the data.

I actually exaggerated some stats on my property in order to get a higher value.  If the bank is too lazy to do an actual appraisal, then I will take advantage and make my asset look even better (on paper).  See the attached pictures - one shows the screen where you will find the "Edit Facts" button and the other shows the screen where you actually edit the stats.

Originally posted by @P.J. Bremner :

@Michael Plante

You can actually claim a house with Zillow and update the stats. I was getting a HELOC earlier in the year and found out that they weigh heavily on the Zillow zestimate, so I claimed my house and updated the info that they use to compute value. You can change bedrooms, bathrooms, livable square footage, date of most recent remodel, etc. I believe @Anthony Dooley is correct for the homes that do not get claimed and updated, they will use the county tax assessor data as default values until someone claims and updates the data.

I actually exaggerated some stats on my property in order to get a higher value.  If the bank is too lazy to do an actual appraisal, then I will take advantage and make my asset look even better (on paper).  See the attached pictures - one shows the screen where you will find the "Edit Facts" button and the other shows the screen where you actually edit the stats.

 Thank you. 

I have claimed the property and updated the facts

The house is currently for sale so I wouldn't want to change the facts to something which is not true 

Zestimate does not mean a thing. Get a real appraisal or CMA by local realtors. Z is free you get what you asked for.

Updated over 1 year ago

Trulia and Zillow are owned by same company their AVM results are different. There are about 8 or 9 major estimators used in industry.

Originally posted by @Sam Shueh :

Zestimate does not mean a thing. Get a real appraisal or CMA by local realtors. Z is free you get what you asked for.

 I don't need an appraisal

I am selling a house

Potential buyers are saying the house is priced too high compared to the zestimate 

I tell them the CEO of Z sold his home too low and overpaid for the new one last year. He said it is just a computer guesstimate.  I will not deal with those idiots. They want to low ball from what I can tell.

@Michael Plante if you are not using a Realtor to sell your property, you will not get full market price for it and you will be dealing with unqualified buyers who may not be able to close. Agents will not show your house to their buyers if you are a FSBO.

Originally posted by @Anthony Dooley :

@Michael Plante if you are not using a Realtor to sell your property, you will not get full market price for it and you will be dealing with unqualified buyers who may not be able to close. Agents will not show your house to their buyers if you are a FSBO.

Actually we are offering 33% higher commission to selling agent than if they were to sell a property listed by a agent.    :)

So yes we do have agents showing our house and pushing it harder than a neighboring house which is for sale. 

As far as not getting full price not using a realtor, having been doing this for 30 years and having passed the real estate exam in NY, NC and FL  five years ago I would've agreed with you 

 But in this digital age I hundred percent disagree with your statement 

@Michael Plante   We can agree to disagree, but you are getting low ball offers from a Zillow listing. The digital age doesn't seem to be working. If you are offering a higher commission, why not just list it with an agent with a normal commission? You could also get an appraisal and put that number in your listing to validate your asking price.

Originally posted by @Anthony Dooley :

@Michael Plante  We can agree to disagree, but you are getting low ball offers from a Zillow listing. The digital age doesn't seem to be working. If you are offering a higher commission, why not just list it with an agent with a normal commission? You could also get an appraisal and put that number in your listing to validate your asking price.

Actually had it listed through an agent for 6 Months at the price they said it should be listed at

Dropped the price 10 k went another 3 months with a realtor 

THEY are the ones who told me the zestimate was killing the lack of offers as told to then by their clients. 

So  now we are back to what this thread is suppose to actually be about 

If you don't know how to get the zestimate changed that's fine but that's what this thread is intended for. 

Try this.... http://www.sandiehearealestate.com/Blog/How-to-Make-Your-Zestimate-on-Zillow-More-Accurate

Just curious why You would want to show your home is worth more? City will raise your taxes

@Michael Plante It sounds like you're bumping up against a limitation of Zillow. I have no idea how they would algorithmically compute the value of a dock, tennis court, RV parking, or really any other high dollar added feature. I will posit that putting in a dock for $100K really does limit the buyer pool if you want to get anything close to a dollar-for-dollar return. I run into the same thing where I invest where some people have built enclosed boat storage buildings as an add-on to their garage. It will never, ever, appraise out "properly" (in their eyes) but it has disproportionally high value to boat owners that see it as a way to "save $200 per month on boat storage!" But then you limit the rental/buyer pool to that narrow niche. Consequently, vacancy rates and days-on-market are way, way longer than average.

Originally posted by @Federico Gutierrez :

Just curious why You would want to show your home is worth more? City will raise your taxes

We are selling the house.  Real estate agent said a few people told them asking price is too high compared to the zestimate 

Zestimate isn't taking into consideration the $100,000 dock that was installed Even though it was done with all necessary permits 

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :
Originally posted by @Federico Gutierrez:

Just curious why You would want to show your home is worth more? City will raise your taxes

We are selling the house.  Real estate agent said a few people told them asking price is too high compared to the zestimate 

Zestimate isn't taking into consideration the $100,000 dock that was installed Even though it was done with all necessary permits 

Real estate agent must know how to address these Zestmate objections - they know better that Zillow is nothing but average of the prices in some radius without consideration of the interior, updates etc. 

Since you are FSBO, you should counter the selling agent words - he/she just trying to make a deal.

Do not increase your property value at the county auditor  - it will raise your taxes.

Zillow is not a valid source of info: it's a marketing tool. They have properties look like listings when they are not for sale, they have absurd rent zestimate or for sale. Don't get fooled by these comments - the agents must educate their clients and not push you to look for solutions with Zillow. 

Tell them go to Realtor.com and get real comps if they don't have an access to MLS :)

Have you looked at other properties with and without the docks and determined what value it adds?  Not what you paid, very few big home improvements add value equal to their costs.  And a specialized one like a dock even less so.  Try getting actual sales prices for similar, nearby properties with and without docks and see what (if any) difference it makes.

Originally posted by @Jon Holdman :

Have you looked at other properties with and without the docks and determined what value it adds?  Not what you paid, very few big home improvements add value equal to their costs.  And a specialized one like a dock even less so.  Try getting actual sales prices for similar, nearby properties with and without docks and see what (if any) difference it makes.

Thank you for the suggestions. 

Well there is no other dock that I know of fo 20 miles 

Maybe you can help me get an accurate price

House 7 doors down sold for 199k. 4 months ago

Same size and number of bedrooms.   

Garage in that house is 30% smaller and detached from house by 40'.  Not a great thing in upstate NY in the winter lol

My house has basement with 8' ceilings, heated and sleeping areas.  Other house has crawl space

My house has direct walk down access to our private beach. Other house has to walk past my house, approx 1/8 mile to get to public beach 

My house has new appliances, laminate floors and kitchen.  

Other house does not 

My house has 40' dock with piers driven to bedrock.  8,000lb capacity remote controlled boat lift.  2 remote controlled jetski lifts. 

Mine has newly placed $20,000 worth of rock shoreline protection other house does not

IMO Pricing 45k above theirs is not out of line

What is your opinion please?

I can't help with the Zestimate. Do they have a phone contact on their web site? If so have you tried to call them?

Honestly, in your scenario I would be reaching out to a local appraiser. Ask him what value he would add for the upgrades you have.

Here is what an appraisal will look at.

Garage size might bump you a tiny bit, but honestly probably not much. I have never seen an adjustment for detached verse attached garage. I have not seen a specific adjustment for basement, unless you have finished space not included in the SF.

When you say your house is the same size and room counts, are you counting the basement? If so this will be different to the appraiser. If the other house is 2000 SF on the main level and yours is 1000 SF with a 1000 SF basement that is finished, this actually hurts your value. My appraisals use $30/SF adjustment for main living space, however only $10/SF for basement finished living space. If your house is banking on the finished heated space in the basement, this could be dragging the price down.

Appliances, floors and kitchens being new actually don't really have a line for adding value. A completely renovated house should be a different grade than a non renovated one, however all of my appraisals never differentiated, so no value was added.

Shoreline protection, piers into bedrock, etc... are all good for the homeowner, but don't add any value. Having a dock should be a value add, however my guess would be not a large add. They will probably base it off SF of the dock, and use maybe a $10/SF value. If the dock is 3' x 100', I wouldn't be shocked if the added value was only a few thousand dollars.

With all of this said, I do not agree with the way they add/subtract for certain things. However this way to determine value is the most basic way I have found.

Where in upstate NY is the place? I live in Orange County, however my wifes family has a house on Lake Oneida that we have been to a lot.

You really need to speak with an appraiser.  Not necessarily to do an appraisal, but to give you an idea about the adjustments they would make for these differences.  You also need more comps.  An appraisal (and your buyer's lender will want an appraisal) will have a minimum of three comps.  Are there others?  Especially ones you don't like, because you have little control over what the lender's appraiser chooses.

Basement square footage is worth, maybe, 10% of the value of ground floor square footage.  Further, when an appraiser makes an adjustment for size, the adjustment is only 30-50% of the value of the difference.  For instance, if your property is 100 sq.ft. bigger than a comp, and property sells for about $100/sq.ft. in your area, the appraiser would make an adjustment of about $3,000-$5,000.  Not $10,000.  So, yes, a finished basement may add value, but perhaps less than you would think.

The better condition will make a difference.  This is where zillow really falls down.  They cannot go into each property and look at floors and appliances, where an appraiser will properly account for this.

Yours sounds like its waterfront where the comp is not. You clearly view that as a positive, and I think many folks would.  But that may not be the case.  Buyer's may see this as a source of risk for flooding (esp with that basement) and storm damage.  And may see it as a source of ongoing maintenance, like your $20K of rock.

The fact there are no other docks anywhere nearby tells me its a unique feature.  It may have very little value.  If it was something that was valuable in your area, other houses would also have docks.  It may be useful to you, but its not something buyers will expect or be willing to pay for.  It may be like, for example, and in-ground, heated swimming pool in a cold area.  Yeah, it costs a bunch of money to put in.  And maybe the person who puts it in loves it and is willing to suffer the costs.  But most people wouldn't even consider doing it.  And it will be expensive to maintain.  So, a lot of buyers will see it as a liability, not a useful asset.  In a worst case, it could have negative value, because most buyers will see it as something that must be removed.

@Michael Plante

Where abouts in UpState NY? Is the dock for Ontario or is the dock for one of the fingerlakes?

@Michael Plante ,

I took a look at it, you have a few things working against you. One is that Lake Ontario levels were extremely high this year and several homeowners lost tons of land and houses were washed away. There are plenty of people looking to ditch their properties because of it so you have an increase in inventory. This is the wrong time of year to try and sell because winter is coming. For those houses on the lake the prime time is April - May and use summer pictures from this year. There is currently an as/is for 129K right down the street and a 150K in decent shape listed as well. The RealAVM is in at

$203,987 - $254,411 so your price is not totally out of the question.

As far as updating Zillow I do not know of a way. Wish there was but they have their own guess based on some programmer 3,000 miles waya who has never even seen it and that;s what they will use.

Good Luck!

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