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What You Might Not Know About Your Zestimate

Placing your trust in the Zillow’s Zestimate feature to determine your home’s value is probably not a wise move. Here’s why.

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Like many other homeowners, you might be wondering, “Can I trust Zillow’s Zestimates?” The short answer to that question is, unfortunately, no.

Most often, Zestimates are simply inaccurate, and Zillow doesn’t shy away from that fact. Their own website states that the Zestimate is “a starting point in determining a home’s value.” It should not be mistaken for an appraisal, and it relies on both the public record and user-submitted data.

Public record and user-submitted data are two markedly different forms of data. The former is unambiguous and fairly accurate. It includes information about the lot the home is in, the building type, and its last known sale price.

User-submitted data, however, tends to be a little more problematic. For years now, we as homeowners have had full license to manipulate information that pertains to our home. Zillow factors this often-unreliable information into their calculations, so it directly impacts the Zestimates they produce.

Zillow themselves caution against putting too much stock into your Zestimate. They encourage homeowners to instead supplement their Zestimate by talking to a Realtor, who can take a look at your property. After all, Zillow has never set foot in your home, so specific features and upgrades within it such as a kitchen remodel, granite countertops, hardwood floors, etc., will go unaccounted for.

If you’re serious about determining the value of your home, you need to contact an experienced agent who can lend their insight and expertise.

In tracking the relationship between their Zestimates and future sale prices, Zillow has found that the value of more than 50% of homes in DuPage County ended up being off by at least 10%.

To put that into perspective, if your home’s value is $500,000, your Zestimate could underestimate or overestimate its value by $50,000. Either way, that’s a tremendous amount of money.

Think of Zillow as the WebMD of real estate: If you’re curious about a health condition, your first stop might be WebMD. But if your curiosity turns to concern, you’re not going to place your health and well-being in the hands of a website. Why, then, would you trust a website to give you an accurate assessment of your home’s value?

If you’re serious about determining the value of your home, you need to contact an experienced agent who can lend their insight and expertise. In fact, here’s what I’d like you to do: Retrieve your Zestimate and send it over to me. Then, I’ll compare that figure to the recently sold properties in your area, and we’ll see just how accurate it turned out to be.

For any questions you’d like to have answered in a future video, please contact me by phone at 630-452-1648 or visit my website at Talk to you soon!