It’s Day 2 and already there’s been a lot of chatter on blogs about what we’re doing and how Zestimates stack up to people’s expectations. We’ve received lots of feedback, too. On the first day we received over a thousand emails. So, in the spirit of transparency, we want to share what people had to say:
- 21% report our home facts have inaccuracies (wrong # of bedrooms, bathrooms, sq. ft. etc)
- 17% dig the site and congratulate us
- 16% think our Zestimates (home valuations) are off
- 12% want to be signed up to get regular email updates from us (advertisers, Real Estate Professionals)
- 10% are suggesting new functionality
- 6% report not finding their homes
- 3% want to advertise with us
- 3% are Mac users and want us to support Safari
- 3% report our maps aren’t correct for their location
- 3% don’t like us or our new site
- 2% did not get a Zestimate
- 2% had navigation questions
- 1% had business propositions for us
- 1% reported bugs
We love this feedback because it tells us what we need to work on and how we can get better, so please keep it coming.
Many people like our site, and that is heartwarming. (Especially considering that people are traditionally more likely to share criticism than praise.) Others, however, have a few issues with it. The main topics are our data and Zestimate coverage and accuracy. We give you the gory details of this on the site.
This is our beta site, and we are working hard to improve both our
coverage and accuracy. Over the coming months we will give you updates
on our progress. To release our beta site, we collected approximately 2
terabytes of data (lots), and then transformed it into a format
targeted at consumers. The hard problems were making it accessible to
hundreds of thousands of users at the same time, and building a bunch
of Zestimates for individual homes and Zindices (plural of Zindex) for
geographical areas. As users have seen, we have had a few hiccups
handling the traffic, and we are making progress on that front. We
believe that one of the best ways to improve our data accuracy will be
to allow home owners to fix the data on their home. So that will be
coming in a future release.
As for improving the Zestimate accuracy, we have lots of good ideas
there. Many of these relate to improvements in the core algorithm we
use to calculate the Zestimate. Others have to do with getting more and
better data on individual homes. Right now in some areas like parts of
New Jersey, we mainly have the square footage of the house and not much
else. This makes it very difficult for us to algorithmically determine
which houses are most similar to others, and hence find comparables
which are at the heart of Zestimate algorithm. On higher end or unique
homes, it is also challenging to find good comparables, and we can be
off the mark there.
We think of the Zestimate as just the starting point for determining the value of a home. Using My Zestimator
(also known as “Refine value of this home”) will help narrow down the
value range of a given house. Right now the algorithm we use to
recalculate the value of a home when you change the home facts can be
very sensitive to small changes in data – over time we will address
this. Picking your own comparable houses (step 4 of My Zestimator) is a
great way to get a better sense for how much the home is worth.
In summary, our users are saying that while many love our beta site,
we still have a ways to go to make it better. We agree and are excited
to do just that.