RSS icon Email icon Bullet (black)
  • Is Zillow Zestimator accurate for Utah?

    Posted on June 7th, 2010 admin No comments

    When working with clients I always get the eventual question about Zillow and its estimate of value for a given property.  The question usually arises when an purchase offer conflicts with what “Zillow says”.
    Zillow has spent an incredible amount of time, effort and money to create a dynamic and comprehensive real estate database for the nation.  The result is very impressive and can sometimes appear to be infallible.  However the data that they automatically mine is from public records and voluntary input from users which is only as accurate as the source.
    Utah is a non-disclosure state, which means that the sales price of real property (your home) is not a matter of public record.  It isn’t secret.  But it is normally only available to professionals who subscribe to the local multiple listing service that is maintained by and for real estate professionals.  Zillow does not have access to this information which is why the Zestimator can be highly inaccurate for our area.  Zillow currently shows a 13.8% median error for Salt Lake County.
    I usually advise clients to use the Zesitmate over a period of time to show trends in value change and not as a precise evaluation of their property value.  Almost every sale that I have participated in since Zillow started has closed with at least a $10,000 price difference.  Don’t get the idea that I don’t like Zillow, I use it to market my client’s homes, but it is only one of many tools that real estate agents should use to get the job done.

  • About these photos

    Posted on June 7th, 2010 admin No comments

    It is not my intention to embarrass or belittle the owners of these lovely homes, but rather to embarrass and belittle the agent who chose these photos to represent their client’s property.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I have made my share of the photo faux paux.  Fortunately for me all evidence has been destroyed.
    If you are the owner of these and want to admit it, I will be very happy to remove them and  never speak of it again.

  • Your agent may be a prima donna if…

    Posted on June 7th, 2010 admin No comments

    They didn’t  show up for your home inspection or the closing.  But you got a nice muffin basket.

  • The throw pillows really pull it all together

    Posted on June 6th, 2010 admin No comments

    I think I grew up in this house.  Which would explain a lot.

  • Your agent may be a prima donna if…

    Posted on June 6th, 2010 admin No comments

    Their business card picture has been photoshopped more than a Craigslist personal ad.

  • Your agent may be a prima donna if…

    Posted on June 6th, 2010 admin No comments

    You pick up a “take one” flyer and you can’t determine if they are selling themselves or the property.

  • Pink, Closet, Pride Weekend. Insert obvious joke here

    Posted on June 6th, 2010 admin No comments

  • 36 hours in Salt Lake City from the New York Times

    Posted on June 5th, 2010 admin No comments

    They like us.  They really like us.

    June 6, 2010 New York Times

  • Variations on a theme

    Posted on June 5th, 2010 admin No comments

    What is it with us Realtors and photographing corners?  Obsession, fixation or simply a world wide shortage of wide angle lenses?

  • Your agent may be a prima donna if…

    Posted on June 5th, 2010 admin No comments

    Their car is worth more than the house you are selling.

  • If you don’t see your hood’s statistics here

    Posted on June 5th, 2010 admin No comments

    Let me know.  I can run a graphical analysis of any neighborhood or city in Utah.  All I need from you are the time period and defining geographical boundaries, or city name.   Thanks to mapping software I can now capture sales from any enclosed boundary.

    For example, you may want to know about single family home sales from April 12th, 1999 to April 12th, 2002 along the east side of 700 East (and only 700 East).  Or vintage bungalows surrounding Liberty Park for the last two years.  Or vacant lots in Saint George.  Go ahead, give it a try.

  • About the 1st quarter sales graphs

    Posted on June 5th, 2010 admin No comments

    The Salt Lake Board of Realtors offers sales data every quarter in the form of press releases to show median sales prices by zip code.  This makes an easy and somewhat entertaining way to disseminate sales information to the public, but has one significant problem.  Zip codes do not define neighborhoods, and neighborhood identity is a major factor in pricing homes.

    Think about it.  Buyers who are familiar with the Salt Lake Valley never come to me and ask to see homes in the 84111 area.  Instead they want to look for a property in Sugarhouse or Taylorsville.  Likewise the free online search options for buyers use zip codes to defines searches which only reinforces this mistake.  But that is a issue for another rant at another time.

    I (and most other real estate agents) have access to this data (and much more) because we pay for access to the Wasatch Front Regional MLS system.  We can also search for property using very specific criteria which is not available to the public.  Not fair? Perhaps, but a good buyer’s agent can use their expertise to leverage this information to your benefit in finding the right home and making the best offer.  A good listing agent will also dig a little deeper into the data to find the best market price for your property and be able to identify the highest and best offer for their client.