I know this is an emotional issue, at least it is to me and everyone else out there who have been harmed by the Zestimates put out there as valid assessment of value on a piece of real estate.

 The public is up in arms--as much as they can be with so little knowledge about what Z has really done and is doing with information about their properties they are trying to sell! The article here, by Geekwire tells the whole story. 

If you want to be informed you MUST read this: JUDGE DISMISSES CASE AGAINST ZESTIMATE IN ILLINOIS 

The case was brought forward again, and again it was dismissed--Turns out Z has a huge lobby in Washington!

Some of you may remember my posts early on as I went through my own struggle with these 2 websites.

As a frame of reference for my outspoken posts against the Z platform, I want to tell you about my own experience with them.

In 2009 I decided I had to sell my home here in the Village of Southampton. After listing the house on our in-house listing system I found out that it was appearing on Z and T and the information was inaccurate....They were using my rental price as a sale price!! I had cars lined up in front of  my house all day--looking and wondering how this house, so near the ocean was under $100k!! 

This went on for months and there was no way to correct the problem--to take the listing down in other words, even by removing it from their system! They (Z and T) had the property information incorrect as it was and that was it.

So,I was forced to go on to the websites as the owner and correct the information. That is exactly what they wanted!

GOTCHA!! That is how it works--I was tricked into going on their site and giving them my data--ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT about my property!! See how cunning they are?

The next thing I knew, they were showing the price correctly but right under the real price was what was called a "Zestimate" and the price shown was way off the real value!

I tried to again fix the pricing problem ---nothing! I fought them tooth and nail and they never did adjust the zestimate to anywhere close to the real value of my property.

I ended up taking a whole lot less than the real market price of the property when it did sell in 2013--because of the crazy, inaccurate and damaging "Zestimate". The buyers who contacted me or other local agents were all informed and fore-armed with the Zestimate price as a tool to pay the  "real price"!!


So that is where this started with me--I have never forgotten the battle I fought, as a homeowner!! As far as I am concerned these tech companies are out to just raid the homeowners property data, take money from the greedy agents who do not want to do the real work to get their own leads and to break the back of all brokerages in the country! All to eventually sell their brand and platform to some other firm and clean up by selling OUR content for BILLIONS to another entity who will, in turn do even more to destroy the real estate brokerage business, using our own content to do it!--

Just watch!!



                                     **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate


Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York

Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005


Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:



Comment balloon 69 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • May 20 2018 03:10PM


Hello Paula.  Thank You for this great blog.  Can I reblog it in a couple of weeks, I think some in the rain may miss it.


Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 11 months ago

Hi Will--Please do, be my guest. I have been talking about this for so long that many may just bypass it thinking it is a repeat. This case in Illinois is very scary. Although this group who brought the class-action suit were private homeowners and were looking to blame Z for incorrectly evaluating the value of their homes, they did not win. This same case was appealed and they lost again!! So much for justice when it comes to this firm---they have a huge lobby in Washington DC I hear, but so do the states that are up in arms about what is happening to real estate. I believe the states lack the passion that is needed to win against these content thieves! The states have no knowledge of the real damage being done to the public because the public does not have a voice! So, please do re-blog it to get it out there again. Thank you Will... 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

It's a shame that Zillow can have that much power! I have found that the Zestimate is within range here in Miami, Florida - Usually, there is a 10-15% margin of error, most of the time Zillow comes in lower than the actual market value. Single Family homes are far more intensive to evaluate - 

Posted by Mott Marvin Kornicki, Waterway Realtors, Notary Public 786-229-7999 (Waterway Realty, Realtors® • Broker • South East Florida •) 11 months ago

Of opinions there is no end. Of professional hands-on ones...Got Agent?

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) 11 months ago

Well they are not local and that is the key: "All real estate is local". As agents we have the upper hand but as a group we do not defend it--It is pretty difficult to get everyone on the same page and to decide NOT to pay them to take our data....There are agents who seem to get a lot out of the game of "pay to play" but I will never be one of them. Also, they are NOT appraisers and yet they represent that they dare--that to me is crime. They are also not licensed as real estate agents so therefore they do not have to follow state (any state) laws!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Richie! You can say that again! That is what it comes down to---the public will one day catch on and reject the buffoonery of the Z's, T's and S's! It is very difficult to buy and sell real estate if you are not trained and licensed! The public is quickly catching on to that!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

I am sorry you had this BS impact you Paula. It's lousy to say the least. We are constantly working to educate people about the problems with Zillow - however, few seem to be listening. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 11 months ago

Hi Debb and Bernie: It was a while ago now but I have never forgotten how those websites affected the sale of my property--Now, I did overcome the situation by taking the house off the market for 3 years but I have heard stories from other homeowners that were so much worse than mine! I was able to afford to take it  off the market--Most are not--they need to sell and this is a terrible thing to do to a person--By putting a price under a listing price that is lower by any amount, you are "Undercutting" the owners expectation and the actual sale of the property. There is a good reason for an asking price and it can be affected by the market conditions as well as the situation of the seller. To have a third party expressing an opinion in such an impactful way is a disruption that is quite ill-intended.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Paula,
Very interesting!  Z is wrong on so many levels!  My home on Z is about 100% over actual value.  My neighbors Zestimate is similar.  It's absolutely ridiculous.  If I could sell for what they say it's worth, I'd take the money and run.  But if I tried, I'd be laughed out of town (without a sale).

Agents need to find a way to use Z and the other portals of inaccurate info to show how important it is to have a knowledgeable agent. 

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) 11 months ago

It amazes me every time I read on an agent who has so many complaints against Zillow, just to find that the same agent has so many listings listed on Zillow.If you think the portal is not an agent friendly, or is unprofessional,  do not blame your MLS or and your broker to feed this portal with your listings. Just move your license to a broker who will listen to you and cares on your needs as a professional real estate agent.


Good evening Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA ,

Thank you for this post and so glad to see it featured! I live in a non-disclosure state so the Zestimates are 25-35% incorrect!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) 11 months ago

Thank you for writing your thoughts and about your experiences with zestimates.  Like you, I'm not a fan of their operation.  Sadly, as you point out, they have a huge lobby in Washington.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 11 months ago

I'm with you 100% Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA !

I've been fighting this battle since Z started and warning customers, agents and the board about them.

Did anyone listen? NO!!!!

Keep the fight going, I am!

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) 11 months ago

I agree with you and feel your pain!

However, agents have brought this on themselves!

They had the chances to stop this and did nothing. Warning the boards did nothing, they didn't listen.

The idiots at NAR gave away their trademarked name for a website - great freakin job!!

Now, unfortunately it's too late, just as it's too late to stop G from stealing the publics privacy and using it against them - they have too much  money and are represented by lobbyist making a fortune on agents all over the country!

It's a crying shame how agents closed their eyes and took the lazy way of getting leads by paying these 3rd party sites rather than making their own websites and promoting them (not every agent of course).

It's a new real estate world out there and it's not a pretty one I'm afraid!

Posted by Jessie Cochran, Panama City Realty Group (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) 11 months ago

Hi Carol: That's what I hear about so many--then there are the prices that are so low that peopl cn't possibly sell if they need to! In my opinion it is criminal. It is a manipulation of the public in such a way that they will never recover from it...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

homeiz--Can't understand why someone would comment without revealing their identity! If you haven't been keeping up with the dialog about Z and T and others like them, you will never understand that it is not the agent who necessarily puts their listings on the sites--but I don't have the patience to try to explain all that to someone who obviously could care less about the real issues with these sites and will not use thier name when communicating 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Dorie: That sounds outrageous! Can you or anyone else gather enough people to start a class-action lawsuit? I think there needs to be more of that kind of activity. This is causing real harm to the public---MLS and others would never allow agents to do that kind of thing! Nor would the state!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Mryl: I know about your feelings and they are very similar to mine regarding these is so frustrating and I think it may be reaching a "turning" point--where no one else will allow it to go on another minute. I ahve to put my thinking cap on as to just how to approach it--I may talk to a lawyer as a matter of fact. My case may be too old but there are so many new ones!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Jennifer: Terrific! Keep up the good work...I will too and all those other agents out there who have been harmed or manipulated should as well. posting on the ideas helps to inspire others to climb on board....

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Jessie: Well, when I heard that Rupert Murdock bought it blew my mind---talk about selling us out!! That is it! All for the money. Just what did they sell? They sold all our information, our listings which are our lifeblood and these idiots knew all along what they were doing...Thee is madness going on right now in the real estate world and it is disgusting becaus eit is all of rthe ighty dollar--"screw the public and the profession"! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

This is one of those cases that may take time to settle down but will eventually. Thanks for the update!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) 11 months ago

It’s not always about screwing up necessarily but I can see where you’re coming from certainly. Thanks, Paula!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) 11 months ago

Morning Paula.

Congratulations on the feature, well written.  Sorry, but I slept in so I'll revisit this later today when I have a little more time

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) 11 months ago

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA - I'm glad you wrote this post and that you are opening up eyes for agents who don't seem to thing "Houston, we have a problem!" 

A few years ago I had a beautiful listing. My Seller was very tech savvy, which is a good thing, but then she went to Z, directly to Z and managed to tell them the information was incorrect. You see, I already proved to my Seller the data was correct in the MLS and explained how about third parties, i.e., Z. But because it wasn't corrected, Seller went again to Z and they told her to find another Agent because I didn't know what I was doing and Z could correct the problem and refer her to a better Agent. Which is exactly what happened. Before I lost the listing, Z corrected THEIR mistake and the Seller terminated the listing with me and got someone else who got it sold almost immediately. I complained but nothing happened.

Eventually, something will happen to all of us and maybe then somebody will listen and stop Z from getting away with it. 

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 11 months ago

Amazing how any single website can get to EVERY buyer and force them to only offer what the website says.  That their agents totally ignore comps and just go "hey, that's what Zillow says and we all KNOW they're accurate all the time!!".  All hail Zillow!!!!!

Isn't the definition of market value what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to agree to?

I had a listing once that the Zestimate was HALF what we were asking.  What did it sell for despite that Zestimate?  Close to full price.

So we as an agent community get wrapped around the axle blaming Z for all the real estate problems in the world, and why our business isn't great, why we can't get a certain price, etc.

And full disclosure, I'm NOT paying for advertising on Z, I don't need to, but I also don't fault agents who do.  It's just another lead stream.  It doesn't make your peers greedy, lazy, incompetent, etc., but smart enough to recognize where the eyeballs are and with conversion systems in place to make it worth their while to pay the bucks required to be there.

And frankly if a brokerage can't prove and maintain its value to the consumer, it doesn't deserve to continue to exist.  We are not some protected class, nor should we be.  Earn our living, or not, but it's not going to be the fault of any particular website.  It's going to be ours as an industry for failing to live up to the needs and expectations of the consumers.  Bill

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 11 months ago

Not a week goes by without a buyer ir seller quoting the site and their values. They were in the business of selling data, even if wrong, Now they are in business of putting us out of busuness

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) 11 months ago

I am not a fan of Zillow as they take our efforts and make money on it but this credit goes to NAR who is in bed with them. Zillow is a total damage to our industry and their must be someone working on a cure for it. I know my comments today will also become part of their database as activerain is a sister company of trulia which is a subsidiary of Zillow but facts be spoken.

Posted by Muhammad Mushtaq, Broker/Realtor (Weichert, Realtors® - SBA Group) 11 months ago

Hi Bill: I totally agree with your statement "It's going to be our(s) fault for not living up to the needs and expectations of the consumers" This in a nut shell is what I am talking about here and in my other many posts.

As licensed agents we are held responsible while the bunch who are just looking to make a profit on the backs of of the public and agents who do not participate in the game of "pay to play" are forging ahead as if they are doing good. In fact, they are harming the consumer who is expecting honest treatment--the agent whom they called on a property has NO idea about the property that they appear next to. Represented as the listing agent to the consumer IS false  advertising and agents are the ones who will pay the hefty fines that are now being given out by the state (at least in NY) for appearing next to another agents listing in an ad and therefore miss-representing themselves...

It may be that Ohio is not hearing complaints from the public as New York and many other states are hearing  from the consumer.

Here, the state has drawn the line and they blame the big brokerages who have handed over the precious content (listings) that the agents worked so hard to get. There is a disconnect with the heads of these companies (usually with no real estate experience)--those who made the decision to partner with these websites and the business called real estate--handing over all the high quality content to these money hungry websites has taken the power away from brokerage. The states are hearing complaints from the consumer. I hear that in New York the tables have turned against any national sites who claim to be local experts.  When pricing standards that are being used are inaccurate, that harms the homeowner; and Licensed appraisers here are up in arms and are speaking up as well. Z has no real standards for pricing locally.

So, if these agents who are paying to play were informed and expert in the listings they "represent" on Z, T or all the other sites now owned by Z, more power to them! That's one thing!--However, that is not what is happening. Some brand new agent who represents a property meets a buyer at a property and punts and does not have a clue about what he/she is trying to sell--that is where the REAL problem is---That and the idea that by the positioning on those sites those are the agents who are getting the calls without regard to their knowledge and expertise. This is leaving such a bad impression on the public regarding brokerage in general and that is another hit agents are taking. (we already had a bad rep as agents!!)

So, even though it may seem like those sites are serving the public good and even though they CLAIM to be serving the public, it turns out that is the furthest from the truth. There is awareness now that real harm is being done and the licensed agent is the one who is being fined here, not the real culprits. Since that bunch is not licensed, the states have no recourse but to go after the agents and hold them directly responsible for false advertising, etc.

Now, that is what is happening in New York state--there is a war rumbling; we will see how far it goes and who continues to pay the high price just to get the leads. 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Laura: That is true--it is NOT always about screwing up! I am talking about intent to do harm and to miss-lead the buying public. That is what the real issue is.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Patricia: That is the sort of thing that I hear is happening in New York state--the issues continue to expand and once the states get ivolved, there will be a change. The problem is Z has a huge lobby that the states SHOULD have (you would think) but apparently it is not big enough to overcome the tech guys!!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Scott: You are so right! That was the stated goal when they sold Expedia and moved on to the world of real estate--Put all brokerages out of business! Z now owns all the local websites and they even bought out RealNet--our internal system for the Hamptons! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Muhammad: If we only knew the real truth--We will never know and that is why I believe we have an obligation to this profession to begini a new way of doing business--I have a few thoughts but am keeping those quiet for the moment...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

First, Paula, I want you to know that I am sorry for your experience back in 2009. It's always frustrating when data is syndicated and errors occur. I think both platforms have come a long way, and do a much better job now with ensuring listing accuracy. But as far as the Zestimates are concerned, I tend to have a much different opinion. I LOVE Zestimates, always have. I am one of those 'cup half full' kinda people. I look for the positive side of things. To me, Zestimates are a starting point in the conversation with clients about fair market value. They afford me an opportunity to demonstrate my value as the local market expert. Armed with my detailed CMA and a print-out of homes I've sold in the past year (showing list price to sales price ratios), I prove to my clients that I know what actual fair market value is. And then, of course, I point out that Zillow has never been to their house. I have never had an instance in my 20 years as a real estate broker where I wasn't able to effectively dispel the inaccuracies of Zillow Zestimates. Instead of expending so much time and energy complaining and bemoaning about something you'll never be able to change, use it to your advantage!

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) 11 months ago

Hi Rich: I know your stance so I don't expect anyone in your position to "get" what I am speaking of here. It is going to change; that I can assure you. In my opinion the ruse that is being perpetuated on the public is the idea that a national website can tackle the local real estate market with all it's variances and complications and undermine all the people in place to handle a deal properly, i.e. agents, appraisers etc. It can't and it really is that simple.... 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

As Rich Jacobson said, with proper documentation we agents can educate the consumer about these terrible inaccuracies. Unfortunately, not everyone listens because in my experience the zestimate is exceedingly high and the temptation to the seller matches it.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Margaret: Yes, we can talk about it but they go brain dead after so much information that most people don't want to even know about unless they have had a bad experience....BTW I didn't say this to Rich but I DID give Zillow a chance--I signed up for a 6 month term with them for just over $600.00 a month and I got bupkiss! All that money was just a waste--I was told by the representative that unless I coughed up $3000 a month I would never get the leads in my price range---so there ya go!! I am sure that there are parts of this country where you can pay a few hundred every month and get $400k to $500k buyers--but that is not going to happen here. Our average price point starts at $2mil...Thanks for you comment....

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

    Hi, Paula.   

       My disdain is not so much for Zillow... it is for NAR, and their complicity with third party syndicators and third party websites.   Please visit my blog post about "Fixing NAR" and read the comments there when you have a chance.

Posted by Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) 11 months ago

Since they never added a Zestimate to Streeteasy, I don't generally encounter too many questions around the Zestimate- since Streeteasy dominates the Manhattan market.  That said, if they ever change their mind- Streeteasy is now owned by Zillow, so who knows.

Posted by Adam Feinberg, NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse specialist (ANCHOR ASSOCIATES) 11 months ago

Here's an ad campaign that I think the NAR should run that would brand Zestimates for what they are, a joke.

Just have homeowners laughing as they read their Zestimates.  

Then when a Zestimate gets brought up, all you need to do is laugh and everyone gets the message.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) 11 months ago

Hi Fred: I will go do that right now...I understand what you are saying about NAR but I do think that they too were in a very bad situation with what has happened with rogue websites--out of nowhere! They are rogue in my opinion and cannot be dealt with by standard means--this is going to take a revolution of sorts and we, as agents are in a battle of our lives and lively hoods.  These sites did not just start up but they did do something that is very underhanded--most agents today don't even know about the warning Z gave to the whole country when they opened this website--their claim was that we as a profession were not being honest and open with the public. They had no idea what we do--just as the public has no idea what we do. It's not that we don't share our work with people, the pubic; it is that, try as we may, it is impossible to explain to the average person what we do on a day to day business without losing them to the minutiae! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Adam: Zillow now owns EVERY site in addition to Streeteasy, Trulia, HREO, Realnet (our Hamptons internal site) and many others...Watch and see how they influence those sites too--it may not be Zestimates but it is the manipulation of agents that show upon listings based on how much they are paying Zillow! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Tim: That is funny! But I suspect the problems are much bigger than that which could be corrected by an ad...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA ~ I've written about this, too! I am upset about this, as well! I think the thing that gets me the maddest are all the deniers "and" those with their heads in the sand. It's too bad we can't get them and us together regarding ZG.

It is obvious ZG needs us (our data) it is obvious that ZG needs our dollars. It is obvious that with IDX websites consumers can hop on their favorite agents' website and have the best access to MLS data.

I'm sorry, but I am at a loss. I don't understand the small minority of folks that like ZG.... I wish I could either get them on board with the majority of real estate professionals "or" I get on board with them... But as of right now, it seems we're miles apart "as well as" living on two different planets...

This (imo) is way bigger than their manipulative Zestimate.... ZG is on a mission, and if they have their way they'll have their thumb on the scale and they will be in control of everything RE...

PS: I'm really hoping for state regulators to come down hard on brokers and agents that advertise with ZG on streeteasy. Keeping my fingers crossed that NY will set the bar for other states to follow   


Posted by Jon Kolsky, Licensed California Real Estate Broker (Kolsky Realty & Management) 11 months ago

Hi Jon: I just posted another article on the topic--"Realtor Vs Zillow--EPIC BATTLE"I think I can figure out what is really going we lose our heads over the madness! We are the fodder in the battle between 2 giganitc websites---they are creating a storm, agents and brokers are paying them both a fortune and meanwhile---we all lose!! They won't! They will just sell out as they did with Expedia and other endeavors---THEY ALWAYS WIN!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Paula, you are preaching to a great many of the Choir with this post with a few exceptions, some are in denial or were drinking the cool aid or I might go a step further and are on the payroll... not wanting to high jack your  post let me just comment to   Mott Marvin Kornicki , BTW I have been saying this for years.... the fact that Z & T admit to 10-15 per cent error factor is nothing to be proud of. Let me use an example of a $5 million home and I could go higher in  my market... if you are off by 10-15% that is an error factor of $500-$750,000 either direction. On a side note, The CEO of Z bought his home and he over paid by millions and I will just leave it at that and it was in the 90049 zip code... now those who say it is a conversation starter are wrong... we are starting out on a negative, because we have to over come the wrong information...just sayin, Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 11 months ago

Until brokerages and agents smarten up and force their MLS' to enact strict use rules for the data fields then it will only continue and get worse. Each site tracks views and all aspects of web metrics for each and every property. It can very easily be counted how much is derived from each listing. 

Unless the MLS's and brokerages cut off Z & T and to some extent R too there will be no improvement. All these brokerages and agents love to show how "your home will be on all these platforms..." Rather than what enhancements are you going to do to properly promote the listing. 

Z & T have been disrupting the real estate world for over 10 years now. Yet the very industry they're changing does nothing to control their own fate. The brokerage model is broken. They haven't kept up with what their job description really is. The major brokerages all fall under one corporation ownership. They've been focusing on growth rather than actually how to transact more business profitably. That's what rfin has done but they haven't perfected it either. 

It will take something truly disruptive to dislodge the entrenched interests. 

Posted by Scott Nelson 11 months ago

Hi Endre: Thanks for reading---it is time to get the likes of Z and R out of our psyche..they are doing more damage to those who are upset by the actions of these thoughtless technology experts...They (Z,R and others) do NOT undertand real estate; nor do they know that we are dealing with the grass roots of life--whether buying or selling a property, there is a degree of  emotional involvment that comes from where a person (buyer or seller!) live! Pretty basic emotion that needs to be handled with kid gloves. A good, professional agent learns that over time and they hone their skills dealing with the idea of this emotionally charged experience...These tech experts are zombie like, emotionless and dollar oriented to the extent of lying to the public, to the agents and to the heads of giant corporations! They do this without compunction or contrition...Just pay them monthly and make it a BIG payment to get the right leads (Lie!) and then you can be part of their scheme.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi  Scott: Thanks for reading and commenting here...I agree that we are looking at a long time and much more disruption than we have already seen to make a difference. I do blame the big brokerages as well---they are run by financial experts, not real estate experts! These heads of corporations are blind to the real way real estate brokerages succeed--first of all, if they knew that without listings they can all close their doors! Once they start treating listings as a commodity they lose strength and attraction--there is nothing to draw the public in! What we learned as we grew into polished professionals is that your listings are your only source of revenue--that's why you take exclusives and take great care of them. Then we learned that we have to mold those listings into attractive product--product that will appeal to the public. So, you take professionally shot photos. Then you take the time to tell stories to the public about the listings and then and only then will you sell the product. They call that promotion---promoting the listings as slap dash--lots of houses, nothing accurate, just lots of data (incorrect data at that!) to impress--but it does not impress! It is embarrassing to see those sites and see how carelessly they treat the life blood of our industry! 

The technology mind can not comprehend how important accurate information and beautifully presented properties are to the outcome! They don't get it and never will. 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

The listing agent has proprietary intellectual property and as anybody that owns their IP, should be paid everytime their information is used, published or reprinted, etc. The exception would be their local MLS.

This could lead to increased income to agents and perhaps alter the compensation structure and could even lead to alternative negotiations.

Companies would simply pay the listing agent a fee determined by the agent and could even be shared with the property owner. These are simple ideas that would get the companies like Z, T, R,  and others to compensate the agents for their interlectual property. 

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) 11 months ago

Hi Paula - That stinks! Zillow (and everyone else who provides an estimated market value: Realtor, Redfin, etc) really need to be held accountable for the unintended consequences of such. We are certainly aware of the issue ( - perhaps that may help?). Best of luck out there. 

Posted by Austin At Homebloq, Making real estate agents look awesome (Homebloq) 11 months ago

Paula, thanks for laying out the situation with Z from your own experience.

It is obvious from the comments made, that not everyone agrees with you.

Herein lies the problem. We have continued to give our data to Z because the voice to stop it was not loud enough and soon enough.

NAR has been part of that problem. 

At this point in time, it is a very uphill battle to change things.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) 11 months ago

Kimo: Thanks for commenting here--I like your ideas and will investigate further...we NEED to come up with alternative ways to do things. The problem is what do we do with those who see fit to give away IP without regard to whom it belongs??? Who does it belong to? The homeowner? The agent who worked so hard to get the lisitng? The owner of the brokerage?. I am afraid what we will come up with when we examine ways to overcome the problem; we may find that it is an even larger one than we thought! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Austin: I appreciate your comments here however, in reading your very long blog, and to get to the end where you are obviously"selling" the zestimate, I find my head spinning--There is not one single way to do an appraisal! Each house is different and the more you try to justify the indecency of what Z really does as it relies solely on "data" (that may be right or wrong) from some unknown source, is incomprehensible! As an agent in this profession you should be embarrassed, not complicit in this process....

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

John: I have to agree with you--the damage has been done. But there are ways to look at doing what we as professionals have done over the years; those things that work, that give us a sense of accomplishment and make the buying and selling public satisfied with our work.

Right now we are a spectacle to be wondered at. The consuming public is extremely unhappy with all of us in real estate. We have become villified by the sites that took our data and willingly misrepresent it on their platforms. The vilification comes when we (Not me, BTW!) pay them so much money and then pretend we know what we are doing---when, clearly we do not! It has made agents the villains and the Z,T,S and Rs out there the place where the public goes to get what they think is accurate information! The public has turned its back on brokerage, not realizing that is the intent of Z--to get the public thinking their way, without regard to the outcome. I give it a couple of cycles before the buying and selling public understands the fraud involved with a website that represents itself as an expert in pricing, local sales data and local building and zoning laws and information! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

What I've read says they want to get sellers to list with their paying agents and no doubt take a cut.   My sources seem very realiable.    

Posted by John Oman 11 months ago

Hi John: Tell me more; is this realiable source part of Zillow or one of the other sites they own, like Streeteasy?

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Another excellent topic to discuss. I also enjoyed the feedback.

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) 11 months ago

Hi Ron: Thanks for reading and commenting...I always get the mos tinteresting comments n my posts--I read them and go back later and read them again. It is not only very entertaining it is also an education!


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

You vented feelings honestly in this blog and glad to read it!  That's quite a story about Zillow and your house was a gotcha!  I will be happy to watch how real estate changes ... from retirement many years from now!

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) 11 months ago


I can certainly enmpathize with you about sorry you had all those hassles. No doubt it's pretty common, however.

I had a home listed in Encinitas (next to the town where I live) and part of the history of sales showed a property over a hundred miles away, and about 20% of the price, that sold a few years prior. The address was very similar and I provided copies of documents that showed this was a different property, but we never could get the data fixed...and that included getting the owner involved. And as for the zestimate...not even remotely close.

Problem is, they talk about how they point out the potential % of errors in the zestimate, but my guess is most people aren't even aware that information exists,where it is, or what it means. The data are still wrong! But the buyers and sellers are believers!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 11 months ago

Hi Mary: I think you will see changes much sooner than that! It is a question of how we as a real estate community carry on--If we stay the course then we will fade away. If we take a stand and fight them off I think we will be ok....but there eeds to be some form of organization in order to get the attention we need. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Hi Jeff: They are aren't they? They don't have the know how to determine when someone says "this house is really worth this much" whether it is the truth or not so they just see it, take it in and absorb the information and it is there in the back of the mind, just hanging out there--Then a time may come when that property may appeal to someone, that information is there and it leaves an impact. It is there for nefarious reasons--I know that for a fact. It is a hook for the seller to bite on and get hooked on, in much the same way that "click bait" works on the human mind. In this case it gets the ire of the owner up and the frustration that follows is nothing short of torture as this owner tries to correct the inaccurate info! I know what that is like! It is there also for the buyer to get "hooked" as well--more click bait only this time it influences all offers. What a nasty bunch of tech wizards---They have it all figured out, don't they? Thanks for reading and commenting, Jeff...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 11 months ago

Wow, I didn't realize this was such a controversy, but am learning here!  Yes I have noted our house has fluctuated in value over the last few months and have not been able to make sense of it.  Normally other sales nearby, if higher, tend to raise the value of adjacent properties.  I think the Z system is not accurate enough but I can see many people looking at Z for guidance as a first estimate of selling value before contacting a Realtor.  Thanks for the info Paula.

Posted by John Henry, Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design (John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc.) 10 months ago

Hi John: You are right--the public really has no idea that they are being duped! That is the issue that the state here is having right now--people are complaining and filing class action lawsuits and it makes no difference to Z et al--they just keep plugging away because until and IF the public as a whole catch on to the ways of this company they will continue to haul in the big bucks from the agents and brokerages who are stupid enough to continue to pay the beast!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 10 months ago

You are right John

Posted by Ricardo Mello, Manhattan & Miami Real Estate Agent (Manhattan Miami Real Estate) 10 months ago

Hi Paula, Sorry you had so much troule with the big Z. I am always telling my buyers to stay away from this inaccurate site listing sold homes as still available. I'm also trying to wean seller's off the site as well by pointing out the inaccuaracies, but I have had some that can't resist watching the value of their home change on the site almost daily, or weekly, even if it's not accurate.

Posted by Michael Eisenberg, Bellingham Real Estate Guy (eXp Realty) 10 months ago

Hi Michael: Yes, there is an addictive quality to those sites and yes, I do believe the techno-parasites are behind the mechanism that triggers the addiction!(much like the tabacco firms fromm years ago!) I think you can tell I am not a fan in any form! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 10 months ago

It is beyond us that sooo many people buy into this sight...and worse yet...Realtors that support it !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 10 months ago

Hi Sally and David: I agree--it is  astounding because as they participate they are digging their own grave---and they don't seem to know that! The only thing I can think is that these heads of companies who authorize the theft of our valuable content must think there is something in it for themselves--and maybe there is!!

The stupidity is beyond comprehension...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 10 months ago