Zestimates, Loops and Fantasy Island!

Money Makes the world go round


“De Plane, De Plane!” Some of us remember Tattoo saying those words every Saturday night to Mr Roarke on Fantasy Island.  In the last few years Realtors have been hearing “the Zestimate says….”.  In both scenarios the outcome is always the same: you need to learn a difficult lesson in order to get what you want.

Let’s start with some facts: Zillow and Trulia are one company (The Zillow Group).  The company’s mission as stated on it’s homepage is to “Build the world’s largest, most trusted and vibrant home-related marketplace.”.  At first glance it sounds like WOW, this is the best place to find my new home.  But Spencer Rascoff (Zillow Group CEO) has consistently proclaimed that Zillow sells ads, not houses.  In fact their website unequivocally states that “Zillow is a media business model and makes money selling advertising on our Web and mobile properties…”.  No mention of helping you find your home.

It gets better (again from their website) “When Zillow launched in early 2006, Zestimate® home values were the cornerstone of the site and quite revolutionary in our quest to create a database of all U.S. homes, whether they are for sale or not.”.


Perhaps, that explains why so many of the listings on both platforms are in reality Sold, Pending or simply never available in the first place.

When asked about publishing imperfect data Zillow COO Amy Bohutinsky said that “their” feedback suggests that consumers (Buyers and Sellers) “love Zillow”.  Ain’t love grand? Or in the case of most Zestimates, many Grand!

Yesterday marked another milestone in feeding the Group’s voracious appetite for advertising dollars.  Dotloop the electronic contract and Real Estate transaction management software company was acquired for $108 million by the Group (to be fair, I currently use dotloop and like it for it’s ease of use).  It was stated that it plans to offer the “technology” to” the more than 100,000 agents that advertise across Zillow and Trulia”.  The same way Janis Joplin sang that “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”, is “Technology” just another word for information when you’ve run out of synonyms?

The small print in the Zillow Group / dotloop privacy policy is that “we may share your personal information with third parties that may offer services that may be of interest (Third Party Sharing).” which you may opt out from.  Seriously though, how many people read the small print?

So now, all that less than perfect information (and imperfect Zestimate) about your home (which is not for sale in the first place) or, all of the transaction details that purchasers who used dotloop software to electronically sign their contract may now be available to the highest bidder.  Theoretically this includes any financial and personal information which you supplied to your mortgage provider if they are part of the “loop”.

De Loop, De Loop!

Do you really still wonder why you need a Professional Realtor on your side?
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