Zillow brings 1.2M listings out of the shadow

by Victor Lund on October 29, 2012

zillow LogoSince the housing market crash, there has been lots of discussion about shadow inventory. These are properties that are in bank foreclosure or pre-foreclosure that are making their way onto the market. Up until now, this inventory has been slowly released – perhaps strategically by banks who want to contain loss exposure – but more likely as a result of the slow process for foreclosure across America. The only thing slower than a bank’s decision making process is the US Court system.

Last week, Zillow – one of the three leading search portals in America began to display 1.2Million listings. As a result, the shadow inventory is no longer in the shadow.

What is interesting is that consumers are required to “sign in” to view these foreclosures in their area. I guess that this is Zillow’s version of a VOW.

Just for fun, I signed in and looked at a home that was in foreclosure – 1220 Montecito Ridge 93420.

Zillow Foreclosure Data Zillow listed this home with a Zestimate of $1,235,887 – $52,000 below the Zestimate.

I looked up the same property on REALTORS(r) Property Resource. The RVM on this property is $1,424, 000. The owner is the Reed family (information that you cannot get on Zillow) and they live in Santa Maria, CA (full mailing address is available in RPR).

I think that agents should be very grateful that Zillow has made this data available, for free. Consumers are likely to find these homes on Zillow then contact an agent for information. This is where RPR comes in – as a REALTOR(r), beginning tomorrow – you can look up that distressed property and possibly reach out to the owner for a short sale. RPR becomes available to all REALTORS(r) tomorrow. You can also find this information in REALIST, or iMapp, or LPS Tax.

It is not clear who is providing Zillow with this shadow inventory data. Could be CoreLogic, could be LPS, is probably both. It is also not clear to me who is getting access to all of the consumer registration data. Those buyer leads are more valuable than the listing data.

Perhaps the next horizon for broker websites will be the inclusion of Shadow inventory. The data is available for sale. There may be issues in many markets whereby brokers are not allowed to co-mingle MLS data with non-mls data. A separate search will be necessary to skirt this rule.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Drummer October 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

I believe the data is from LPS.

I’m looking forward to a WAV study of the 1.2 million foreclosure listings being promoted by Zillow. Perhaps 11 major markets, etc. I predict a discrepancy of +/- 40% since that’s what I’m seeing in the Tampa area.

The REALTORS® that commented on this last week were not thrilled about having to clean up Zillow’s mess. The other issue is how to handle homeowner’s who are listed as REO properties….when they aren’t.

Finally, are you in the market for a new home? Neither am I and I registered for Zillow’s data. Glad I’m not paying for a bucket of lookie-loo leads.

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Victor Lund October 29, 2012 at 11:32 am

Someone would have to commission the study. It is not cheep to check data. What makes you think that it is LPS data?

When I look at the data on Zillow and compare it to the data on RPR, it looks different. I know that RPR uses LPS Tax data – so the same data on Zillow and RPR should be the same.

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Victor Lund October 30, 2012 at 7:50 am

Author: Bill Rovillo

Comment: Victor, as to the “mystery” of where Zillow purchased the foreclosure data, I did some sleuthing. After noticing many errors in their foreclosure data in Florida, I noticed something I thought I had seen before. A few years back, when we were abstracting 40,000 Lis Pendens per week in Fl, I was approached by Matt of Software Incubators. With an office in NY and a team of abstractors in India, he told me that he just sold all his historical Foreclosure data to LPS and that his data “was very good” and asked if I’d like to purchase it also. I asked him for a months worth of samples to compare to what we collect. The data didn’t come close to making the “iMapp grade” of quality.
Well, when I recently checked the Zillow data with the sample data from India, the errors matched exactly, character to character, parcel to parcel. So, I would say Zillow either bought it directly from Software Incubators or a 3r d party (LPS?). But it is absolutely data created from Matt’s group in India.
Mystery solved.

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