Zillow is the most popular real estate site. Their most famous (or infamous) feature is their “Zestimate” of a home’s value. Their computer looks at the public records information about a house and then make adjustments based on recent solds. It’s just a ballpark figure, but some buyers and sellers treat it as the gospel when it comes to value. What they fail to see is that Zillow can’t know the subjective factors that go into local real estate values. You may have bordering neighborhoods with drastically different appeal to buyers, yet the Zillow computer can’t possibly know that. The same thing applies to some objective factors like upgrades inside the home, landscaping, valley or golf course views, etc. Another big problem is when the public records are wrong, so they miss extra square footage or even a pool.
Even Zillow admits that their Zestimates can be off by about 8% high or low. So on a $1,250,000 house, that’s $100,000 off. But some agents around the country have done their own research and they are seeing MUCH bigger discrepancies, from 11-42%! Around here I’ve seen Zestimates be off by almost $250,000 in some cases.
So keep in mind that Zestimates can be way, way off. If you are just curious, that’s fine. But if you need a more accurate number to help you make some hard decisions about whether you can or should move, you need a local real estate professional who knows your market, like myself. I will come take a look at your home, and take into account all the features and benefits of your home, and compare that to the actives, pendings and solds for homes like yours, and then give you an educated opinion of value. If you’re curious what your home is worth, send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or for an accurate and in-depth Comparative Market Analysis (COMP) of your property.
Thanks to Carl Zanger in our Mainstream Campbell, CA office for writing this excellent update on Zestimates.