When it comes to where to start when purchasing a home, online real estate marketplaces are where most modern house hunters begin.
But if you used Zillow to search for or list homes in Cuyahoga County in the past month or so, you may have seen inflated 2018 tax assessments and property tax bills that were in some cases doubled, frustrating homeowners and real-estate agents trying to sell houses.
In a statement to The Plain Dealer, a Zillow spokesperson attributed the issue to an error by a third-party vendor that collects Cuyahoga County property tax records for the company. Zillow declined to identify the vendor.
“After a recent review of Cuyahoga County’s data, it appears the vendor provided us with an estimated property tax calculation, not the current year’s tax data,” the statement reads. “We’ve informed the vendor of the error and they are currently working to provide us with the most up-to-date tax data for Cuyahoga County. Zillow strives for accuracy, which is why homeowners can claim their homes on Zillow and update their home facts. If any information is inaccurate, homeowners can contact us and we will work to update it.”
Homeowner Mark Wallach noticed the numbers seemed off several weeks ago. Curious about why his Shaker Heights home wasn’t getting more interest from potential buyers, he checked his home’s Zillow listing “tax history” section and spotted a problem: His house’s property taxes and tax assessment from last year were significantly overstated.
“After I went through the Zillow listing and I saw that it was showing our property taxes at 80-some percent higher than they actually were, I was dumbfounded, because we’d been wondering why we weren’t getting any traffic on our house,” Wallach said.
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