Wednesday, September 25, is One-Hit Wonder Day. Having spent the first half of my professional career as a disc jockey in various cities, I’m no stranger to “one-hit wonders.” During my DJ era, I would “spin discs” (as we said back in the day) by one-hit artists like Soft Cell (a former “Gongaware Pick-to-Click”), Norman Greenbaum, and ? and the Mysterians. (I always thought ? was singin’ “you’re gonna cry for 96 years.” Who could count exactly 96 “tears,” I reasoned.) Due to my inability to relate to “adults” throughout much of my radio career, I was spared having to play Debby Boone or C.W. McCall.
Of course, “one-hit wonders” exist in fields other than music. For example, there’s Jeremy Lin, the Hummer, Silly Bandz, and, of course, the Zestimate. The Zestimate is a cleverly named web application meant to provide an estimate of a home’s value. It was created by a media company called Zillow, a property listing “syndicator”…a word disturbingly close to “syndicate.” Their name came about by the company’s desire to meld “zillions” of raw data points (mostly from county tax records) with “pillow.” Really? (I think instead they should have combined “zillion” with “Toro,” the official mascot of the NFL’s Houston Texans. Then they could have called the company “Zorro”…which is much cooler, in my opinion.)
The problem with Zillow is that their aforementioned data points can be grievously wrong and lacking any refinement. The result can lead to an extremely misleading conclusion for Buyers and Sellers of real estate. Zillow even admits on their website that they “…do not offer the Zestimate as the basis of any specific real-estate-related financial transaction. Our data sources may be incomplete or incorrect; also, we have not physically inspected a specific home. Remember, the Zestimate is a starting point and does not consider all the market intricacies that can determine the actual price a house will sell for.” I appreciate their candor. And by the way, no one understands “market intricacies” better than your trusted Allen Tate, REALTOR®.
Relying on a website like Zillow for accurate and timely information to help with a critical real estate decision is like buying the complete Greatest Hits package of Norman Greenbaum. You’re attracted by the hit and disappointed by his “Canned Ham.” May I suggest that you instead rely upon a company that has been riding high on the charts for 56 years…the Allen Tate Company. This old DJ knows the difference between a one-hit wonder and a superstar.