Are Zillow estimates accurate? This is a question on the minds of many buyers and sellers who jump into the real estate market. In the digital age potential buyers and sellers can sit at their computer looking at their leisure for properties online. One of the most popular sites happens to be Zillow. While Zillow has an excellent platform for looking at homes and offers consumers excellent information they may not be able to find elsewhere, it does an absolutely horrible job at estimating home values. So when people ask are Zillow estimates accurate, the answer is far from it. In many instances the Zillow estimate is not even close!

Who does it benefit to publish data that isn’t accurate? Nobody is the answer! Zillow uses their tool for nothing more than to get mentioned online by people complaining about it. In fact, there has been a recent lawsuit filed against Zillow because of the inaccuracy of their estimates of value. The case revolves around Zillow being allowed publish what many people feel are appraisals without having a license to do so. Zillow counters that the Zestimate of value, as they like to call it, is nothing more than an opinion. Free speech is claimed as their means for publishing this cucka pudding.

Zillow has been the bane of many real estate agents who spend countless hours having to explain to buyers and sellers why a computer cannot determine the value of millions of homes across the country. One of the many unfortunate parts of the Zillow estimation tool is consumers putting too much faith in it.

Just imagine the problem a site like this creates when someone is going to be selling their home. Mr. Jones who is thinking of selling his home on Main Street wonders around Zillow and notices he can check the value of his property. He proceeds to punch in the address of his property and discovers his home is worth $500,000. His desire to sell his home becomes escalated. He starts to plan his move and calls a local real estate agent to get the ball rolling.

The competent agent walks through the property and proceeds to tell him that his home is only worth $425,000. The moment of skepticism has arrived as Mr.Jones stares down the real estate agent. How can my home only be worth $425,000 he proclaims. Zillow after all says it’s worth $500,000!

Folks these are the kinds of conversations that real estate agents have to put up with all the time. In many instances the consumer no longer trusts the real estate agent. They end up thinking all the real estate agent wants to do is “give their property away”.

The problem is you have better odds of seeing Bigfoot this weekend than you do seeing an accurate Zillow estimate. When people put stock in an online evaluation tool and not a professional they end up making huge financial mistakes. Countless people price their homes inaccurately because they want to believe their home is worth more than it actually is.

Zillow says their Zestimate of value it is just a “starting point”. Who in their right mind thinks a starting point has any value if it is off by 10 percent or much more. I don’t see any hands going up in the room. It is pointless to have misleading information published online. These home value estimates are a magnet for the uniformed.

Here are some things to consider when thinking about why Zillow estimates are not accurate:

  • You could drop $50,000 tomorrow into your home and Zillow would never know you did a thing.
  • Zillow used your homes assessed value as a major factor in determining your value. Anyone with half a brain understand assessed values are used for tax purposes and not market value.
  • Zillow doesn’t know that your basement floods every spring.
  • Zillow has no idea that your roof is on its last leg.
  • Zillow has no idea your home had an ice dam that that needs to be fixed.
  • Zillow does not know your town data card is wrong and that you really have four bedrooms not three.

Zillow doesn’t know a lot of things. The only way to truly get an accurate picture of your homes value is to hire either an appraiser or a top real estate agent. When selling a home setting the right price is paramount to your success. If you get the price wrong nothing, the best marketing in the world won’t help you.

Zillow wasn’t the first company to offer online evaluations and they won’t be the last. Do yourself a favor and always put your trust in an established professional not an algorithm.

written by massrealty

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.