Should You Trust Zillow's Zestimates?
When you visit the Zillow website, you are able to find out your Zestimate, which gives you the value of your home. But should you trust those Zestimates?
The short answer is NO, because most of the time, these Zestimates are not accurate.
According to the Zillow website, a Zestimate is a starting point in determining a home’s value. It should not replace or be taken as an appraisal. Keep in mind that these Zestimates are based on a mix of public and user-submitted data which makes it prone to errors.
On one hand, public data is fairly accurate, as it includes verifiable information about the square footage of your home. The real issue is the addition of user-submitted data that does not to be verified.
Any homeowner who wants to sell their house could go to Zillow and add some home improvements to their property. They know people are looking at Zestimates so they do what they can to make their home more appealing. Plus there are agents who help people increase their Zestimates to make it seem like their home is worth more than it actually is. Therefore, Zestimates can be tweaked and manipulated.
Zillow encourages homeowners to not only used their Zestimates but to supplement by talking to their real estate agent and getting a comparative market analysis or getting a professional appraiser to visit the house. After all, Zillow has never been to your house; that Zestimate has no idea how your home stacks up against others in the area.
Take into consideration that if you live in a major metropolitan area where there are plenty of homes for Zillow to pull from, then your Zestimate might be more accurate. However, if you live in a rural area with not much data or if you live in an area with a variety of unique homes, then that Zestimate can be very misleading.
Zillow representatives even admit that more than three-quarters of the the homes in San Diego County have Zestimates that are off by 10% or more. TO put this in perspective, if you have a $700,000 house and your Zestimate is off by at least 10%, then your Zestimate is either $70,000 too high or too low.
At the end of the day, Zillow is more like WebMD; if you are curious about some symptoms you have, then WebMD can give your a couple of guesses. In reality, if you are seriously concerned about your health, you will go to the doctor and ask them for an accurate diagnosis. Why would you trust a website with your home value if you won't trust another website with your health?
In order to really know what your home is worth in the current market, you need to contact an agent about the value of your home. In fact, I invite you to look up your Zestimate and send it to me. I will then compare your property to recently sold homes in your area and we’ll see how accurate Zillow actually is.