Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Taxes, Zillow and the Price of Homes

I have a listing in Marion County. New construction, but when I entered it into the MLS the address didn’t match the tax id. The seller had been receiving tax statements, so I couldn’t figure out the why.

Called the county. Pushed the required numbers in order to talk to the required three people, finally landed at the map room. “Oh! By golly, looks like I entered the lot number instead of the address!”

That was nearly four weeks ago. Tax id and address still don’t match.

Pause here to note that that is one of the organizations Zillow relies on for accurate market information.

But this isn’t about Zillow.

I received an email a couple days ago on a listing I have on Craigslist. He or she – it was anonymous except for the email address – was wondering why the list price was so much higher than: the market value according to the county.

Oh, dear.

This led to an exchange where I tried to explain that the Market Value as assessed by the county – and it doesn’t much matter what county – only exists to make Zillow look somewhat accurate. There’s exactly zero correlation between assessed market value and sales price. I even sent this person county value/sales price ratios from within a mile of this home over the last three months: 57%, 15%, 25%, 27%, and – 7%. I pointed out the home was listed with the county as a single story five bedroom; it’s actually three stories and four bedrooms. I explained that if he were to do a search of every home 3900 to 4100 sf (this is 3997) listed or sold in Lake Oswego in the last year, this would be the least expensive, and it’s not a fixer, it’s completely updated on a quarter acre. Perhaps he should see it?

No deal. The county was his number and he was sticking to it.

Oh, well. The real value of any home is the price a seller is willing to accept and a buyer is willing to pay. In any free market he’s absolutely sanctioned to make decisions on whatever criteria he thinks work, be it horoscopes, numerology, crystals, or county assessments.

My suggestion, of course, is: hire a good agent.


Anonymous said...


Relying on AVMs is foolish as is Zillow's insistence that they are the Kelly's blue book of homevaluations or "just a starting point"

AVM's have been around for years-HomeGain had one on it site from 1999-2001 and recently relauched its AVM tool at http://www..Homegain.com

Unlike Zillow which takes FSBO listings and engages in cheap consumerism with it "make me move' feature, HomeGain also allows REALTORS that are members of HomeGain to post their listings for free on their listing site homescout.com

Rick said...

Yes, the real value of any home is the price that the seller is willing to accept and the same price that the buyer is willing to pay. There is just one problem, sometimes the sellers are not willing to accept the real price that the buyers are offering. The Market Value as assessed by the country it doesn't matter at all, it only exists to make Zillow look accurate, and I do not know why?