Most of the time, Zestimates and other online home valuations aren’t very accurate. Zillow states on their own website that a Zestimate should be treated as a starting point in determining your home’s value. It’s not an appraisal.
Zestimates are based on public and user-submitted data. While public data (the number of bedrooms, square footage, etc.) is usually fairly accurate, Zestimates lean heavily on user-submitted data. If you’re a homeowner who wants to sell your home and know that people are visiting Zillow to see what it’s worth, wouldn’t it benefit you to add some “improvements” to its listing profile? Some agents out there actually help homeowners increase their home’s Zestimate to make it seem like it’s worth more than it is. In short, Zestimates can be tweaked and manipulated.
Zillow goes on to say that they encourage homeowners to supplement their Zestimate by speaking to a real estate agent and getting a comparative market analysis, or just ordering an appraisal. After all, Zillow’s never been to your house and has no idea how it stacks up against other homes in the area.
Ultimately, Zillow is like WebMD.
If you live in a major city, and in an area with a lot of listings for Zillow to pull from, your Zestimate might be more accurate. If you live in a rural area without a lot of data and a broader variety of homes, your Zestimate could be way off the mark. Zillow even admits that more than 75% of the homes in San Diego County have Zestimates that are off by more than 10%. This means if your home is worth $700,000, its Zestimate could be $70,000 too high or too low.
Ultimately, Zillow is like WebMD. If you’re curious about a health condition, you can look it up on WebMD. If you’re seriously concerned about it, you should probably see a doctor. If you wouldn’t trust WebMD with your health information, why would you trust Zillow with your home’s value?
To know what your home’s truly worth in our market, contact a real estate agent such as myself. In fact, I invite you to look up your home’s Zestimate and send it to me. I’ll then compare your home to other recently sold homes in the area and give it an accurate valuation.
If you have any other real estate questions, feel free to call or email me. I’m here to help.