How Accurate is Zillow.com?

February 18, 2017 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

by: Maria Hass

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By now most people have heard of Zillow.com – a website where home buyers or home sellers can go to find out the worth of a property. But is it really accurate? My answer is a resounding NO! In fact, there is usually a huge difference between the home value calculated on Zillow.com versus the true market value of the home.

Why is Zillow.com not accurate?

1. Zillow.com determines a home’s value based on tax records, which are hardly accurate nor updated. I tried experimenting on my old home to see what the site has to say. Zillow.com estimated my home at $223,000. I was able to sell it for $250,000. Zillow’s estimate showed that my home was only a three-bedroom without a pool when in reality it was a three-bedroom plus a den with a Pebble-tec pool and built-in barbecue. Home buyers visiting my home without the help of a Realtor would argue that the home is only worth what Zillow says it is. Well, in the real estate industry, Realtors don’t give Zillow’s estimates any respect.

2. Zillow.com provides a comparative market analysis of your home based on what sold in the last year. Real estate agents typically pull up homes that sold within the last three months because the market is constantly changing. We also look at what is pending and active to get an idea of what the future sales look like. Zillow does not do that.

3. Zillow.com does not have specific search criteria. The website does not take into consideration the condition of the home, any upgrades to the home, the number of levels of the home (single-level, two-story, with or without a basement), the direct and indirect competition of the property for sale and any additions to the home. Zillow does not distinguish whether the home that sold backs out to a main street or to a lake. This property description alone can add $20,000 more value to a home on a lake and a lot less to a home that backs to a busy street. It does not know if the home that sold has an extremely big lot or extremely small lot. Again, this can add a greater value to a home with a huge lot. Zillow does not identify whether a home that just closed is bank-owned or a regular sale. The type of sale matters to real estate agents because distressed sales normally sell for a lot less than regular sales. So, your four-bedroom home will be compared to all the four-bedroom homes close by, regardless of valuable property features, condition, upgrades, etc.

4. Zillow’s estimate is computer-generated. There is no human intervention to identify the changing market conditions. It does not have the eye to see the condition and competition of the home for sale. Zillow.com is one big misleading home search website. It is a quick and easy way to find a home’s value, but is far from being 100 percent accurate. If you are serious about finding the value of a home, take time to call a trusted and knowledgeable real estate agent. Realtors have the tools and expertise at their disposal to find out what your home’s value really is. If you need help with determining the value of your home, feel free to contact me for assistance.

Entry filed under: Arizona Real Estate, Chandler Real Estate, Foreclosures & Short Sales, Phoenix Real Estate. Tags: , , , , , , .

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