Extortion Or Transparency?

There is a web site called Zillow that gives a “zestimate” which looks like an estimate of the value for most every property. When a home is for sale it can be listed as forsale on Zillow. If the real estate agent pays for a premium account then the for sale price appears next to the listing and the zestimate is below the rest of the information. In fact a person could miss the zestimate all together.

Featured listing – Realtor has premium account

If the listing agent or brokerage does not pay Zillow the zestimate will appear next to the price, sellers mostly hate this.

non-featured listing on Zillow

This looks like extorsion to me, if I pay the zestimate goes someplace less conspicuous. Why would they do that? I generally don’t put my listings on Zillow but I give each seller the option and if the “zestimate” is lower than the for sale pice them maybe it is in the sellers best interest to have the prices side by side. I should pay for a premium account so that Zillow will hide ze ‘zestimate” on the homes that are listed for more than the “zestimated” value.
If the home represented in the screen shot really is worth $425K or more the sellers should “opt out” of Zillow until the place is sold.
Home owners should have a say in where or how their home is advertised. There are some pretty spammy sites out there that pick up real estate listings If you are a seller google your address and see where your home is being marketed. if you can’t find it at all that isn’t good either.
Zillow does a great job explaining that the zestimate may not reflect the true value of the property but I don’t think most buyers read the fine print.
There are similar problems with the values the counties put on properties and they don’t even provide fine print.

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