The Problems with Zillow

February 23, 2018

Zillow is one of the most popular real estate sites on the web, but is it really the best place to find properties for sale in Southwest Missouri? In our experience the answer is often no. Despite it’s slick user interface and vast amount of data on each property, Zillow has some serious flaws in our market. Our goal here is not to disparage the company, just to help you find the most accurate and current information about homes you’re interested in. Let’s take a closer look.

Outdated Information

In our industry, Zillow is notorious for having outdated information. It’s really no surprise that this happens so often. Zillow has millions of homes on its website and many thousands of listing agents and multi-list services from which they attain their information. We keep a pretty close eye on our listings feed for just Southwest Missouri and that’s a full time job! Maintaining accurate information for nearly every home in the country is impossible. There’s simply to many moving parts to provide updated info on that many properties. Here at Murney, our listing feed on is updated every 15 minutes and we have a direct line to the information for each listing in the region. The data we use on is as accurate and updated as the information entered by the agent who listed the property. If you want the latest and most accurate information, consider using a site that’s plugged in to the community.


The Zestimate Problem

Zestimates have been a problematic feature of Zillow for real estate agents for many years, especially in the state of Missouri. Our state has regulations that classify us as a non-disclosure state. This means we are not permitted legally to share information on sold properties in the state. Zestimates rely heavily on information that is not permitted in Missouri to calculate the estimated value of a home. Without it, Zestimates can be very misleading. One of the most glaring examples in recent memory is the “African Queen” home in Springfield. It’s an elaborately designed home with near priceless amenities. It was listed on Zillow last year at over $5 million. The Zestimate said it was worth $250,000. Along with the lack of data to accurately calculate the value of a home, Zillow also doesn’t have the benefit of being able to see the home. It doesn’t calculate the reputation of the builder, the demand of the neighborhood, the upgrades made and the uniqueness or history of a property. Our suggestion is to meet with a licensed real estate agent to get an idea of what your home is actually worth. There are just some things internet robots aren’t able to solve for us.


HOA Fees Are Almost Always Inaccurate

Zillow requires real estate agents to manually calculate the monthly Homeowners Association dues, which on the surface doesn’t seem like a very big issue. The problem lies with the original data source. Our Multi-List service calculates HOA dues on yearly basis. Zillow accepts that data and plugs it into their monthly HOA field, without adjusting it. Not every agent in the area is aware of this glitch, which often results in seemingly astronomical HOA dues. The HOA information on is again, as accurate as the agent who entered it.

 Limited Searching Options

Looking for a home with an in-ground pool? As of this writing, Zillow says there are only 11 homes in the Greater Springfield area on the market with swimming pools. There are actually over 200. Want a storage shed, barn or other outbuilding on your property? Zillow show 29 homes with outbuildings when there are more than 1,800 on the market.  The searching options are based on keywords only, so you can refine your search in a meaningful way. On, we have every searchable field on the Multi-List service available on our Advanced Search option.


Where are the lots?

Want to build your dream home? You’re not going to have much luck on Zillow finding the site for your new construction home. Currently, Zillow only shows just over 1,000 lots available in the Greater Springfield area. This is obviously not the case. According to our records, there are more than 4,700 lots available in our service area.


Zillow has a very successful web site and many people love the experience of looking for homes there, but it’s not always the most accurate, nor is it the most up-to-date. If you’re looking on Zillow, hop on over to and double check the information you see on Zillow. We pride ourselves on having the best data in the business and we were recently recognized as having the best enterprise technology in Springfield, regardless of industry by Biz417 magazine and the Association of Information Technology Professionals of the Ozarks. Give us a shot to help you find the home or property you’re looking for in the most efficient way possible.

We’re always available to answer your questions on real estate as well. We’ll be here for you when you need us! Happy searching!











































































































































































































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