How useful is Zillow for finding a good investment property?

12 Replies

Hello,

I am extremely new to all of this and was wondering how effective zillow is in finding up-to-date properties.  It is such a simple, user-friendly app on my iphone but I wonder if it may be a little out of date with some of the listings?  Has anyone ever found and successfully purchased a property that they found on zillow?  I probably spend too much time on this app- but, it's a great app that motivates me to continue looking at properties...just curious on your thoughts.  Thank you. 

haven't had or heard of anybody with success but keep an eye out for pre foreclosure properties. I ran into a potential lead on  zillow  with pre foreclosure by driving by that property and seeing a for rent sign out front.. Meaning he was desperate to sale before it went into foreclosure ;)  depending on what your niche is it could be useful. Broaden your ways of finding properties though ( yellow letters, driving for dollars, real estate agent or just even networking, etc etc) Hope that helps some

I have found Zillow to be inaccurate, outdated and have unresponsive and apathetic staff giving non-answers to questions. But other than that, they are only somewhat inadequate at what they do. Can you tell that I am not a fan yet?

I check several properties through Zillow, they were off over 20% on every property, it appears the use tax assessments and other data to (like economic factors and appreciation) to value a property.  From what others have posted they are not accurate.

Zillow is a product, figures lie and liars figure, Harry Homeowner doesn't have a clue what his house is worth and for whatever reason he needs a valuation, there is Zillow to give him an answer. I would not use them for anything, much less depend on such a valuation as an investment basis. IMO :)  

zillow need to update more and correct errors on site like yesterday I came across this property and as I was reading through I got to a part were it was written 2 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms duplex home.. I probably found more errors than properties on site.. But wait there are others sites with the same problems too..so this leads into the conclusion.. They are good to use, but you still have to do your home work yourself to come up with the right analysis the right calculations and so on to be on the save side.

Back to topic I seen houses sold on site but don't know if they were through Zillow and if so I want know too...

I thought I was being sneaky smart by contacting everyone on Zillow that had done a "Make Me Move" profile on the site. I sent out over 100 emails via their messaging system and got back 3 or 4 replies. I set up a meeting with one of those people but she was too far off on value to go through with the meeting so I ended up cancelling. Not sure if that could work better in your market. And for anyone that is just starting out, it's a completely free lead source (well, besides the time required).

Zillow is 80-90% accurate for rental rates in my area.  Home values not so much.  I use it among other sources to determine rental rates of a prospective property. 

Originally posted by @Levon Turner:

zillow need to update more and correct errors on site like yesterday I came across this property and as I was reading through I got to a part were it was written 2 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms duplex home.. I probably found more errors than properties on site.. But wait there are others sites with the same problems too..so this leads into the conclusion.. They are good to use, but you still have to do your home work yourself to come up with the right analysis the right calculations and so on to be on the save side.

Back to topic I seen houses sold on site but don't know if they were through Zillow and if so I want know too...

 Hi Levon, Totally agree with you.  Zillow alone is not adequate. 

Thank you for all your responses.  Looks like I'm wasting quite a bit of time on zillow!  Time to move on to other venues/niches.  Thanks again.

I am under contract on a property right now that appraised for 132k last week.  Zillow claims it is worth ~162k.  That makes me laugh every time I think about it.  Thankfully I wasn't trusting anything Zillow said other than rent.   I feel like they have a pretty good pulse on that, but I still check rentrange, rentometer, and the mls.  But as for the Zestimate? Worthless.

Wow, a lot of zillow hate here! I actually really like zillow, and use it a lot. I DO NOT pay much attention to their "zestimate" numbers, but I have found it useful in sending me alerts when properties meeting my criteria come available. I buy mostly REO properties and it is nice to get an alert the day it hits the market. I get alerts form multiple sites, but zillow is actually my favorite.

I have purchased a home, not through zillow, but I did find the lead through zillow...kind of. I was looking for homes in the area and noticed a fairly low priced home, so I looked up the listing agent and gave him a call. The home was a SS under contract for less actually than the listing showed. I gave him my number and said I was interested if the buyer backed out on their inspection which expired two days later. Two days later he emailed and said they had backed out and if I wanted the home he would submit my PSA with the other buyers termination letter, so I did just that and ended up purchasing the home.

As others have said as far as Zestimates go they are all over the place. Rent estimates tend to be ok, though I don't go off those alone. And my use of them is kind of a quick visual of what may be available though again many of their "active" listings may be expired, pending or some other material condition may have changed and not updated like a FC being initiated or the prop going to tax sale. 

I also love Zillow, and I use it a lot.  Easy to navigate, look at the properties from the street and from the maps.  Easy to view nearby properties.  Yes, the zestimate isn't very good, but as several others said the rents ARE what people are asking (look up other rentals in the neighborhood) and then the rent estimates are usually pretty close.

Like anything else, you just have to do your homework, and look at different resources.  Once I find a property I am interested in, I check the county, I chat with my realtor, and I do my due diligence.  

I have bought houses from Hubzu, houses found on Zillow, houses bought off Craigslist, and postings on facebook .. there are leads everywhere, you just have to turn them into deals.

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