MLS Update: The "Zestimates" AVM Glitch Has Been Solved
February 5, 2021
It was brought to the attention of the MLS & Technology Committee that listings which had opted out of AVM (Automated Value Model) still had a "Zestimate" showing up on their listing. While at the same time on other websites like Redfin, it seemed to be working correctly and no Estimated Price would appear.
SFAR's MLS & IT Director Jay Pepper-Martens was able to reach out to Zillow and almost immediately correct the problem.
It should be known that:
Contrary to any rumors it was never intentional and Zillow was unaware it was happening until Jay reached out.
It had nothing to do with the Super-Regional MLS changes.
The glitch happened when they became a brokerage on January 1, 2021 and chose to take a standard brokerage feed of the MLS unbeknownst to them that the feed doesn't have any AVM settings.
Within a matter of hours they worked with Jay to correct their settings and retroactively made the changes for any listing dating back to Jan 1,2021 when their MLS feed changed.
No special steps need to be taken by listing agents if they have already opted out of AVM.
Here are some quick FAQs about it:
My listing has a totally inaccurate Zestimate or Estimated Price showing up online! Help! How do I make it go away?
Answer: This is a simple fix! When entering your listing or editing an existing listing there is a section that asks several questions about what you want to allow to appear online. If you have selected to Publish Listing on the Internet you'll have several other required settings to choose below it. Next to the question: "Show AVM on VOW?" You need to select NO. Once Saved no automated estimates will appear on any websites. See the example below:
I just changed the AVM to NO on my listing and the Zestimate is still showing!? What did I do wrong?
Answer: Chances are nothing. Websites including Zillow and Redfin rarely update immediately. Most of the time these websites will show a change within 3 hours or less but occasionally it will take up to 24 hours. Has it already been over 24 hours and no changes? There might be a rare glitch happening. You can contact the website directly by scrolling to the Bottom of the page and selecting "HELP". These websites have an area for Agents to contact them for a manual change. For ease the two most common websites can be found here:
My sellers want to have the Estimated Value show up on public websites but it's sooooo wrong!! Is there any way to fix it?
Answer: Possibly! The Automated Values are created using an algorithm that starts with public data and then adds other variables on top of it. This works great in Midwestern Suburbs where there's only 9 versions of houses and all the tax data is correct in the real world. This does NOT work well in San Francisco where Public/Tax Data is often incorrect and properties can be incredibly unique. But sometime just updating the "Public/Tax Information" with real life information will be enough to get your Automated Estimate to be more realistic. BEFORE listing your seller can claim the property and make adjustments that might be wrong such as showing 0 bedrooms when it's actually a 3-bedroom house. AFTER it's listed you the agent can claim the listing on the website or contact the website directly to change the public information that is incorrect. Just take the same precautions and explain the risks to Sellers about making adjustments to properties with Unwarranted Rooms/ expansions as you would when entering data in the MLS.
Remind me again what AVM and VOW are again...aside from alphabet soup?
AVM = Automated Value Model....a computer algorithm that tries to predict the value of the property using a combination of Public Tax Info, Sold Comps, Website Activity on your listing, requested property tours, and other data points.
VOW = Virtual Office Website…a website owned by a Brokerage who wants to show properties available on the MLS. These Websites have access to and can show if a property is Active, Contingent, Pending, or Closed. Such as Redfin.com or KW.com. The “VOW” level or rich data details is also used to power some MLS connected applications like RPR, Rapattoni MLS Edge, and HomeSnap (coming your way shortly!).
And what about IDX and Syndication? Isn’t that the same thing?
IDX = Internet Data eXchange…an agreement between Broker Participants that their data can be mixed with other Broker’s data, so long as they each give proper attribution to who’s Brokerage the listing really comes from. Brokers take IDX feeds to put on their corporate sites, and 3rd party product vendors (vetted by the MLS) provide products that show this combined data, but only if the Listing Agent has affirmatively selected YES to publish that listing on the Internet (see above screen shot).
Examples include IDX Inc., iHomeFinder, and products like RealScout and myTheo. These are not Brokerages so they get lots of MLS info but not ALL the little details. And they cannot display private information such as Private Remarks (Agent-Only) remarks, Commission Information, or some Status information related to being off the market. They may show that information to you as an Agent usin their product, but never publicly. .
Syndication Portal = These are website “portals” that offer a combined view of public data available on the market, basically an “online classifieds” product. The two biggest ones were Zillow (which bought Trulia in 2015) and Realtor.com, but recently Zillow has decided to become a BROKER and use Broker IDX (see above). Realtor.com is now the largest Syndication Portal and the public facing side at Homes.com (which you should take a look at!) is now the second largest.
SFAR MLS Tech Committee Chairs: Jodi Halldorson and Vanessa Gamp