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Frustrated Home Buyers & Sellers Finding Problems With Accuracy On Zillow

CONIFER, Colo. (CBS4) - For people who are buying homes along the Front Range the search is now even more difficult because one of the biggest home listing sites no longer has the most up-to-date information.

In a hot real estate market like this one, accuracy and timeliness are essential for buyers and sellers to make a good decision. Those two things are in question with one of the largest advertising platforms in real estate, Zillow, and some sellers say it's causing a problem for them.

Kurt Fehlhauer is trying to sell his Conifer home but noticed a problem with his listing price.

"Originally I based the price on the Zestimate that Zillow puts out, and that was pretty high," Fehlhauer said.

He dropped his price but says Zillow did not update the change. Zillow also owns Trulia. Both are top real estate advertising websites. Zillow had a third party company that would upload MLS (multiple listing system) listings to their site but the contract recently expired.

"Zillow has had data accuracy problems for years, long before the termination of their agreement," said Kirby Slunaker, REColorado CEO.

(credit: CBS)

REColorado is the state's MLS listing. Slunaker says they're working on a data licensing agreement with Zillow but says they want the company to be more accurate on prices and sold statuses, among other things, for brokers, sellers and buyers.

"They go out, they fall in love with a house, it's really not for sale. That adds probably more frustration than anything," Slunaker said. "Then I think them finding out there are houses for sale that aren't on Zillow probably is just an extension of the frustration."

Zillow says they gather their data through algorithms and pull the information from public records. They say that information doesn't always reflect changes and upgrades. That's why Fehlhauer encourages homeowners to take matters into their own hands with what Zillow is currently listing about their property.

"Basically get that data up there, get the old listings removed so my current realtor can actually push the new data up there," he said.

Zillow gave CBS4 a link to a website for information on how sellers can edit the information on their site about their home, or if the home has been sold.

Statement From Zillow

We are currently in conversations with REcolorado and hope to come to an agreement as soon as possible that benefits REcolorado's members and the home sellers they represent. Sending a direct feed of listings benefits everyone, from home sellers and buyers to agents and brokers. By establishing a free direct feed with Zillow, REcolorado will ensure that home shoppers see the most accurate and timely listings possible, and will also help make other data on Zillow, like Zestimates, more accurate.

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