Golf Course View Property Values – What Does Zillow Say?

Posted by Geoffrey Brooks  –  Somersett Homeowner

As a follow up to my previous post, I think everyone who lives in Somersett has heard of Zillow…they provide a service whereby they will give you a “Zestimate” of the value of your house, or any house you are interested in.

One advantage of Talon Pointe is that it has Golf View Lots (18th Hole Trail) and Non-Golf Lots (Lynrock), so the added value from a golf course lot can easily be seen!

Golf Views           Zestimate         Last Sale Price          Zestimate Range     

8660 18th Hole       $346,954        $487,000 (Oct 2007)         $326K – $386K

8668 18th Hole       $349,761        $749,000 (June 2006)       $329K – $367K

8672 18th Hole       $353,299        $345,000 (Jan 2012)          $332K – $378K


8724 Lynrock         $374,556        $360,000 (May 2013)          $345K – $393K

8788 Lynrock         $351,421        $290,000 (May 2009)          $330K – $369K

Even though the descriptors (see attached Talon Pointe Property Listings) mention the desirable SGCC 9th hole fairway views – Zillow doesn’t appear to believe that they make a house any more valuable! In fact if one rummages around in their web-site, they do comment on golf course houses, view lots and their value.

The houses chosen were all built in 2005 to 2006 and built to a high standard, with lots of luxury features by Ryder. They are all on 6000 to 7000 sq ft lots and about 2000 sq ft (4 of the 5 are the same layout). On the face of these numbers, it seems that buyers would prefer to pay a little more not to be on a fairway!  Maybe not having to repair windows (from errant golf balls?) is a plus!

I just don’t know.

Please can someone tell me why the SOA Board and the SGCC keep making claims that our values are enhanced by a functioning golf course? The facts elucidated from the Washoe County Assessors site, both in Somersett and in D’Andrea, do not bear this out. Cluster housing built around a golf course does not guarantee value for the buyers.

If we all decide by vote to buy the SGCC (on terms as described by the LOI) it is so we can keep the “Somersett Space” open, it will not enhance our property values.

However, one thing is quite clear that the builders can extract a hefty premium from a golf course lot, presence, ambience, which is why the SCGG was built in the first place. The SOA/SGCC should both be asking the builders to contribute to the purchase price, helping the SOA buy the SGCC! It is the Builders interests which are really being served by having the residents buy the SGCC!

Will realtors on the Somersett Board and active in the Country Club please speak up for all of us?

Geoffrey Brooks

7 thoughts on “Golf Course View Property Values – What Does Zillow Say?

  1. Hi Geoffrey,

    I am a Realtor and live in Somersett myself. One thing I dislike about Zillow is it is simply a way to get an idea of your property value, but it does not take into consideration views, added amenities and upgrades in ones home, etc.

    For instance, the comparisons between the 18th Hole Trail and Lynrock is based on land valuations, size, etc. It does not add on $20K+ for the golf course view as an Appraiser would do if appraising the property. The few appraisers I know say they hate Zillow because their appraisal will come in off the Z Estimate and people get upset with them as the Appraiser if the value is less than the estimate. In many cases a home on Zillow will have a Z Estimate of $300K, but sell for $330K+. Reasons for this include views (Mountain Views, Golf Course views and the like), upgrades within ones home and so on.

    In a matter of simplicity, golf course views and views there like it add value to ones property. If the purchaser is not a golfer they might not find as much value as someone who is a golfer, but we cannot look at two identical floorplans, one with a view and one not with a view and say they are equally valued.

    I might have a biased point of view on this matter because I am one who lives on the course, and when we bought, there was a premium for said view, but when I work with my Clients, they are willing to pay more for golf course frontage and/or other views.

    Hope that makes sense and have a great day!

  2. Data only shows two things:

    Zillow is a very poor gauge regarding actual values (see examples 8668 18th Hole and 8788 Lynrock) – they lag as prices drop or rise providing only marginally useful information. In a personal case Zillow place a value on a property at $215,000 and the actual sale price was $54,000.

    Comparing values of houses across the street from each other does little to determine the impact of removing the golf course from the equation. If the golf course was to go away the negative impact would be felt equally whether on the course or not. Ask the people who moved to Somersett following the closure of D’Andrea

  3. You have been encouraged to take actual sales comps, rather than using poor sales indicators like county records, in prior comments. Uncertain why you continue to resist the suggestion. Using Zillow is foolish for true sales comparisons. This service cannot look at the varieties in various undeveloped properties. See Rob G for his comments above. I recommend that you contact him and ask for the local sales data. Please. You are wasting your efforts, kind of like an appraiser who refuses to use local data, and attempts to use Zillow to justify whether a bank should loan on a property.
    Now, according to your own provided data, I notice that the actual selling prices reflect substantially higher market value for golf view lots than non-golf view lots. Even your own data provided by you, indicates the value of golf.
    Please note: Value is not obtained by what a service says it is, nor is it what you want it to be. True market value is what a buyer is willing to pay for it. With the above provided data, it is apparent that buyers place a higher premium on golf oriented properties.

  4. Hi Rob, Terry and Bruce

    I appreciate your responses

    My previous survey, based on resales in all the houses ion Talon Pointe (63) – showed that there was a “residual premium of $15,000” for a golf fairway view lot actually paid by the last buyers. I concur with both Terry and Rob that Zillow is a flawed gauge of what a house might be worth. To follow Rob’s train of thought, If I were to list mine I would certainly expect to get +$20K for the view, + $25K for the solar panels, + something extra (+$50K?) for the upgraded nature of the house and patios. That I suspect might price it out of the current market for Somersett Houses.

    As far as appraising property value, when I have used the services of professional appraisers, they have always used the published sales values from the local tax assessors office. I followed that format, I only added the Zillow piece just to see where they stood as far as housing values in Talon Pointe are concerned. Professional appraisers employed by banks, when residents of TP wish to refinance have come in with numbers similar to those deduced in my “resale survey”.

    As to the question what value does a golf course add, the only conclusion is that it helps the builders make more money, there are still 1500 houses to build, and they should be contributing to the cost for the proposed CGC purchase! Going back to Bruce –

    “True market value is what a buyer is willing to pay for it. With the above provided data, it is apparent that buyers place a higher premium on golf oriented properties.”

    – this comment really only applies to new property, as someone who can afford to play golf will be happy to pay for a new house. Bear in mind building lot land values are currently worth 33% of what they were prior to the Great Recesssion. Maybe Rob can tell me that the $95K premium for the land extracted by Ryder Homes in TP from the original buyers, can be “reclaimed” from the next buyer, maybe not.

    I like to think that if we are well informed, we can make the correct decsision for the future of Somersett, for the right reasons…to preserve our ambience, open spaces, whether they are used for golf or not. Valuing views and community ambience is very difficult, sometimes one (the beholdert?) can consider them priceless. Builders strive to create these conditions as they provide invaluable impetus for sales and higher profits.

    1. Geoffrey,

      I totally agree with your statement that we should preserve our ambience, open spaces, and views,

      It appears that the real question is who should pay for it. Builders? If you were a builder and owned lots here would you volunteer to contribute a substantial amount of money to protect the open space? I doubt it and I find it hard to believe that there is anyway to force them. Let’s propose
      real solutions. Also, remember that the vast majority of the 1500 remaining lots are not on nor have a view of the course.

      Also, whether open space or the golf course, the SOA needs to buy it if we want to protect the ambience, we need to pay for it. As to cost, it certainly will cost the homeowners significantly less money if it remains a golf course than if it were open space. Remaining a golf course, can we, as non members, walk on it? No, but we have miles of trails to walk on. As non members can we enjoy the views and ambience the course provides? Yes

      Bottom line

      Is there any significant number of homeowners who want to see the area occupied by the current golf course “go brown”? If not, then the majority should work together to protect it and work on a realistic way to pay for it.

      Mike Slattery

  5. Mike

    When we bought here in 2006, we were told by Ryder Homes that the CGC was a separate, Non-PUD recreational facility (we still pay SAD taxes of $400 + a year). Joining the Country Club was optional. The CCR’s actually state that ownership of a lot/house in the Somersett PUD did not confer any “interest” in the CGC.

    Most unit owners do not belong to the Country Club, and I suspect that Somersett residents are much like the rest of the US where only 8% play golf.

    Many of the houses are “view” lots in the sense that they can see the surrounding mountains and foothills (Lynrock Houses have views of Mt Peavine). The most expensive houses are built higher up in the foothills – Boulders, Eagle Chase – and have exhilarating expansive non-golf views. Even the Sierra Canyon residents (not on golf course) will talk about their beautiful views of Verdi and Crystal Peaks and the ambience which comes from nestling in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

    Yes, our Talon Pointe house had a nice fairway view. However, this fades into the foreground, as one sees the dramatic mountain backdrop, the often snow covered Carson Range (Mt Rose) towering in the distance.

    So, much of the Somersett ambience we all enjoy and want to see for ever, is provided by spectacular mountain scenery which can be seen by all!

    My recent post on the impact of a “fairway” view was really concerned with effect of the GR on housing values in Somersett,and the billions of $ lost by homebuyers, lives devastated by bankruptcy & foreclosure, pensioners struggling to survive financially. The concern I have, is that these homeowners who moved here to enjoy the amenities, ambience before the GR, have lost significant value in what is probably a major part of their life savings. They are now having to contribute to “pulling the irons out of the fire” for a private golf course. So far over $1,000,000 of our dues monies have been contributed to the SGCC.

    I agree with you, that asking the developers, builders to “buy” the course for the residents to recoup their investment in enhanced property sales values is unlikely. However, they should, especially if they believe that open green space serves their purpose better than “brown”. Even though many of the new residences will not be on the CGC, the ambience from the green is essential to enhance the value (to them) and profitability of the new housing to be built. I know our community realtors (and board members) believe this!

    Somersett, in many ways, is an unusal community as the residents are already paying for a 9 hole golf course amenity, those not in Sierra Canyon are paying for the Club at Town Center. In most communities these are included in the purchase price of your home, not in the monthly dues. At least SC residents pay for the Aspen Lodge (in the purchase price) when they bought their house – not in the monthly payments.

    As we already own (or are buying) the Canyon 9, owning the CGC makes sense to me. The LOI represents an opportunity to purchase the CGC for less than $10 a month. We will then own and can protect all the open space- recreational area in Somersett, guaranteeing the community will be “finished” (when the remaining 1500 houses are built) they way the PUD was intended. We will save $5 a month from our current assessments and have “limited access” if we wish, to the private country club and golf facilities.


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