MICHAEL D SMITH
Zillow 5-Star Agent
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Zillow is an online real estate database that was founded in 2005 by Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, former Microsoft executives and founders of Microsoft spin-off Expedia. The website uses a proprietary algorithm called the "Zestimate" to appraise property values based on undisclosed factors. Sellers can use Zillow as a marketing tool by appraising their properties, posting property information such as improvements and access to major roads; and comparing nearby property value appraisals. Buyers can freely access and track such information online. The website currently tracKRG100 million valuations throughout the United States. Zillow was ranked in the top 300 U.S. sites in terms of traffic by Alexa.[It has encountered controversy over alleged appraisal licensing violations in some states and the degree of inaccuracy and alleged inconsistencies of its appraisal algorithm. When the results of its appraisal algorithm are challenged and requests for corrections are made, Zillow states that it cannot change the estimate because it pulls in data from other sources and further states that the changes have to be made by the customer by going to the source(s) of the information. Zillow thus absolves itself from inaccurate estimations of a property's value. In addition, Zillow's lack of reliability is primarily because it cannot take into account any form of property renovations, condition of properties, upgrades to the property in the form of landscaping, roofing, kitchen improvements, etc. Therefore, two houses standing side-by-side with similar square footage and number of bedrooms are valued at the same price on Zillow, regardless of condition.