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Why Zillow Is a Non-Starter in Milwaukee

Milwaukee is a special place. It’s a great town for an indie broker like Powers Realty Group and those independent brokerages that came before me. However, it’s not a great town for Zillow and all Buyers should understand why. 

If you are trying to gauge your home’s value or the value of a property you want to buy, you need to know Zillow Home Estimates (Zestimates) are dead wrong…here and everywhere…but especially here in Milwaukee. Why?

Zillow.com's Zestimates are Frequently WrongZillow is a real estate marketplace. It is not a broker. It is not a member of a MLS (Real Estate Multiple Listing Service) and therefore, has limited data. Zillow cannot gain access to sold closed housing data from an MLS unless the listing agent and or buying agent of a recently sold property willingly gives Zillow the data. Giving Zillow sold closed data is cumbersome and clunky. Personally, I do not have the time nor do I want to give data from the sales of my Sellers’ and Buyers’ homes to Zillow. So, I don’t. Do agents give Zillow this data? Some do, however, very few agents provide the data on a timely basis, and the records provided are usually a fraction of the real active and sold data. Not only does absence of data result in inaccurate results but combine that with using a fraction of the data, and it can really skew results.

Zillow tries, but in Milwaukee it is pretty tough for Zillow to succeed in any valuation of a home sale. Milwaukee’s largest independent brokerage does not post their Active Listings on Zillow, and the majority of brokerages never add their Sold data to Zillow. If a brokerage does use Zillow, they have to manually enter sold and pending data. There is no advantage for the brokerage in sharing their data with Zillow. Therefore, most of them don’t.

If you are a Buyer and using Zillow as a resource for new listings in the Milwaukee Metro Area, you will miss every DELAYED Status listing available in your desired area. Essentially, you will miss knowing about every new listing about to hit the market. If you are a Seller and using Zillow to determine the value of your home, the estimate (Zestimate) from Zillow will not be accurate because they do not have access to the data necessary to create an intelligent valuation. A trusted Realtor has the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Recent sold data for homes in your area and homes coming soon to the market are key factors in determining price. Zillow does not have this information in Milwaukee. If you are a For Sale By Owner and using Zillow, this could really hurt you in Milwaukee as Buyers quickly learn Zillow is not a go-to resource in Milwaukee. Milwaukee’s Greater Association of Realtors has done an excellent job for the consumer in directing the public to use trusted resources for accurate valuations and market predications of new upcoming inventory.

What Buyers need to know! Milwaukee Metro MLS has created DELAYED status listings, where newly listed properties can be featured as “delayed” on the Multiple Listing Service up to two weeks. These properties are ONLY found with a Buyer’s subscription to the Multiple Listing Service. As a Buyer, you will need to work with a Realtor to obtain a subscription. Using Zillow, Trulia, Redfin or Realtor.com will not help you find new listings. New inventory and hidden inventory (Excluded Listings) can only be obtained through membership and membership is obtained ONLY through a licensed Broker.

Pricing a home happens on the now. Sellers need access to what listings and the number of listings currently on the market in their price range to gauge their pricing strategy. This data is only available through your trusted Milwaukee Broker. Zillow is an unreliable resource in Milwaukee. Advice: Call a trusted Realtor to help you with your home buying and selling process.


Zestimate is a trademark of Zillow.

Powers Realty Group is a distinctive boutique real estate broker focused on the needs of customers delivering exceptional results. We are the trusted local experts. Call us today about buying or selling your home.

Call Suzanne Powers