How Accurate are Zillow's "Zestimates"?

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Real Estate

Have you ever noticed that Zillow provides an estimate, or "Zestimate," of what houses are worth? I am often asked about the accuracy of these "Zestimates."

Zillow is an extremely popular real estate tool with lots of great information. However, Zillow is not a real estate agent! It is a public service, like a library. Zillow bases its "Zestimates" on conclusions that are formed by looking at broad data. 

Zillow uses amalgamating, which is a fancy term for mixing and combining data from various sources - it is a computerized program. That is not necessarily a bad thing. When pricing a home, even I, as a real estate agent, use a computerized program to start. But you can't just use a computerized program when accurately valuing a home. You must look at all the data available and make adjustments. 

For example, when I am trying to determine a home's fair market value, I look at the condition and upgrades of the comparable homes vs the home my client is looking to sell or buy. I also pay close attention to the type of sale, as foreclosures or short sales may not be true comparables. I also study the home by either driving around the street and neighborhood, or looking on Google to see street views. For example, what backs up to the home? If your backyard backs right against an industrial area and most of the neighborhood does not, this would be a factor that plays into how much you can sell your house for as a seller, or what kind of offer you would put in if you were a buyer.

In summary, Zillow is a great online tool, but it does not take the place of a personal assessment from a professional real estate agent. If you're curious about the true value of your home, even if you're not planning on selling right now, I would be happy to provide you with a free home valuation. Just email or call me at 225-229-0451.

Additionally, if you have any questions about buying, selling, or renting, please don't hesitate to give me a call!