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2013-02-25 08:36:30
Zillow - Good info in Texas?

Zillow is a popular resource tool for consumers looking for property information online but it's not accurate for Texas properties. Why? Texas is a non-disclosure state when it comes to reporting sales prices of properties because the Texas Association of Realtors doesn't think it should be anyone's business what someone pays for a property. So, the only information that is reported down at the court house when the deed is transferred are the names of the parties and any loan information. That means tax appraised values are not accurate indicators of what properties sold for.  

You cannot determine sales prices of homes by looking at web sites that provide information from county tax appraisal districts either. Those sites will give you the 'tax appraised value' of a home, not the 'market value'. The 'market value' of a home is determined by comparing information provided through the multiple listing service. Realtors® do report the actual sales (of homes listed through MLS) on the MLS web site which is the exclusive property of and accessed only by Realtors®. If a home is sold outside of the MLS (i.e. a 'private sale'), that information is not available to us either. This sometimes causes problems for us, particularly in the luxury market where many home sales take place as private sales. We have the same disadvantage there that the tax appraisal district has in those situations.
This is why the web site Zillow does not work in the state of Texas.  Here is a quote from Drew Myers of Zillow regarding this:

'It seems many people are confused regarding what a non-disclosure state (or county) is.  Hopefully, we can set the record straight for those of you wondering.  What does the term 'non-disclosure' really signify when it comes to property records? It’s a tricky question given that people or companies use the term differently given that exact definitions can vary by location.

The big, big picture is that in a non-disclosure state, transaction sale prices are not available to the public.  There are two main causes for states being considered non-disclosure:
The first cause is that in most non-disclosure states or counties, when a real estate transaction occurs, the sale price is not required to be submitted to the county office (this is the case in Texas and North Dakota among others). The second cause is that even though records are kept by a governing body, the records can not be distributed to the public.  Such is the case in New Mexico, which 'is a strict nondisclosure state, information about property can only be given to the registered owner of the property.' Since we rely on public county records as our primary data source driving our Zestimate algorithms (which take comparable sales prices into account), it poses a challenge to calculate accurate Zestimates when sale prices are not available.  '

As a professionally licensed Realtor® in the State of Texas, I can provide you the data you need to make decisions about property valuations when you are purchasing or selling a home. Give me a call today and let's get started!


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