Is Zillow Getting Smarter?

I’ve discussed third-party real estate sites such as Zillow and Trulia previously on this blog (“Trulia Hits — and Mostly Misses“; “Zestimates Wildly Off-Target“).

The verdict?

In most cases, you’d be better off throwing darts to establish your home’s value.

That’s because publicly available housing statistics — and dated ones at that — don’t convey a home’s condition, look and feel, updates, etc.

Not to mention key boundaries that are easy to miss on a map, such as a border between a good and bad school district — or a a major highway. (That’s also why a knowledgeable Realtor’s pricing is typically better than an appraiser’s).

However, at least anecdotally, I’m hearing that social networking sites (think, Facebook and My Space) are filling in Trulia and Zillow’s blind spots.

The result — at least in the biggest markets where social networking is most active — is that the real estate sites are benefiting from a positive feedback loop that’s making them more accurate.

In other words, they’re getting smarter.

Will this trend travel to smaller markets such as the Twin Cities?

Stay tuned . .

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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