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Are Zestimates Accurate?

When preparing to sell your home, knowing where to start might be a daunting task. Knowing the true value of your home is an important start. Googling “home market value” gives you a plethora of options, but with all of the home estimate sites out there, which is the most accurate? The most common place homeowners start is Zillow, but are Zestimates accurate?

Zillow puts a lengthy disclaimer on its website:

“The Zestimate home valuation model is Zillow’s estimate of a home’s market value. The Zestimate incorporates public and user-submitted data, taking into account home facts, location, and market conditions. It is not an appraisal and it should be used as a starting point. We encourage buyers, sellers, and homeowners to supplement the Zestimate with other research such as visiting the home, getting a professional appraisal of the home, or requesting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent.“

-zillow.com

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Conducting a small experiment, only entering the same address of a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom home of the most used valuation sites – here were the results: 

SourceMarket ValueHome Specifics of Same Address
Zillow$343,0003 bedroom, 4 bath, 2,889 sq ft
Redfin $353,8493 bedroom, 3 bath, 2,889 sq ft
Realtor.com$342,2003 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2,889 sq ft

In regards to the home value itself, from the lowest estimate to the highest estimate, there is quite the flux in value – a difference of approximately $10,000 between the two. That is a large chunk of change when thinking about selling a home. This could mean a world of difference when shopping for your new home, or your future plans. 

On an additional note, the home estimated above is actually a 3 bedroom, 2 full bath, 2 half bath home. This shows that where these sites are pulling from is not necessarily an accurate source. 

No matter which site you tend to agree with, the home value estimate is only as accurate as the information behind them. Mistakes on property assessments and old real estate records can also lead to an inaccurate home valuation. Due to the number of variables factored in when determining a home’s value, the more unique and custom your home is, the less likely the Zestimate will be accurate.  Zillow isn’t looking at the homes individually. The model for Zestimate is based solely on available data, instead of experience and knowledge of the market from an experienced listing agent.

NOTE: Zillow’s recent troubles certainly put the accuracy of its Zestimates in question. Zillow recently reversed their position on buying up homes, to flip and sell, and instead (according to Money.com) is trying to unload all of their current inventory – sometimes at dramatically less than what their Zestimate has determined. This does not bode well for a homeowner, trying to use the Zestimate to price their own home. If Zillow can’t even get their own homes they purchased priced accurately, is there hope for the typical homeowner to use their estimates for pricing their own home?  

Within the Ask Cathy Team, our listing experts take into consideration all improvements you have done in the home since you have taken ownership. We also take into account location, school district, and interior and exterior features when pricing your home to sell. We have proven strategies for accurate pricing, helping you receive the most money for your home. With our team approach, our expert buyers agents will also work hand in hand with your listing agent to time the sale of your home with the search and possession of your next home.  

Meeting with our team is the best way to ensure that you are receiving the best, most accurate home valuation possible, and also provides you with an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the selling or buying process, market trends, and marketing strategies.  

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