I have talked about it before – and I’ll talk about it again.
Nearly every time I go on a listing appointment, it comes up. Zillow’s “Zestimate”.
Today I was quoted in this Tampa Bay Time’s article on how accurate those Zillow Zestimates. Here’s a hint. Not at all.
What is a Zestimate? Per Zillow’s website, “The Zestimate® home value is Zillow’s estimated market value for an individual home and is calculated for about 100 million homes nationwide. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value and is not an official appraisal. The Zestimate is automatically computed daily based on millions of public and user-submitted data points.”
So, how accurate are they?
The answer is – it depends. As one person pointed out in the Times article – in cookie cutter subdivisions where all the houses look alike and are generally the same size – the Zestimates can be fairly accurate. I would agree with this statement. If you live in Riverview or Brandon in a subdivision built after 2000, your Zestimate is probably not too terribly inaccurate unless you’ve done major upgrades to your home on the inside. But in cities like St. Petersburg and South Tampa, where you have a lot of historic homes from all different eras where no two are alike – they are fairly inaccurate.
Also – things to take into account: Zillow doesn’t know if your house has a yellow 1970’s retro kitchen or a slate and stainless steel 2017 kitchen does it? How can they value two homes the same if they don’t know what the inside upgrades look like?
I have also seen Zillow value a condo that faces a water view the same as one that faces a parking lot view. Hmmm. I certainly wouldn’t value them the same as a Realtor.
Here’s a look at Zillow’s margin of error. Only 43.3% of homes in Tampa Bay were within 5% of the Zestimate at their time of sale. Wow.
Recently I sold a home in Oldsmar that was previously listed with another agent at the Zillow Zestimate value of $475,000 – which was way too high for this particular home as it needed a lot of updating. It ended up selling for $395,000 which was market value. At the end of the day, a home is worth what a given buyer is willing to pay.
For another example, my own home’s Zestimate right now is about $40,000 under the actual market value that I know it would sell for if I listed it tomorrow based on the comparable sales in the neighborhood.
The moral of the story here is – if you are considering selling your home – don’t get too over excited or deflated for that matter about what Zillow says your house is worth. Call an experienced Realtor for a complimentary market analysis – we are always happy to provide one even if you are just curious!