Seller

Think Zillow’s got your home’s value on point? Think again—those Zestimates could be off by 9.9%

Daniele S. Gordon | June 3, 2024

Hey there, homeowners and future sellers! Today, I want to dive into something that might surprise you: the accuracy of Zillow's Zestimates. If you’ve ever checked your home’s value on Zillow, you’ve likely seen their estimate, called a Zestimate. But did you know these Zestimates can have a significant margin of error? Let’s talk about it!

The Zestimate Error Rate

So, here’s the scoop. According to Zillow, their Zestimates have a median error rate of 9.9% for off-market properties. Yep, you read that right—9.9%! Now, that might not sound like much at first, but let’s break it down.

Imagine you’re looking at a home valued at $650,000. With a 9.9% error rate, the actual value could be off by as much as $64,350. That’s a huge difference! Whether you're buying or selling, that kind of discrepancy can have a major impact on your finances.

Why the Error?

You might be wondering why there’s such a large error margin. Well, Zestimates rely on algorithms and publicly available data to come up with their figures. While this can give a general idea of a home’s value, it’s not foolproof. There are many factors that an algorithm just can’t account for, such as recent renovations, the condition of the property, or unique neighborhood characteristics.

For example, two homes on the same street might look similar on paper, but if one has a newly renovated kitchen and the other doesn’t, their values will differ significantly. An algorithm might not catch these nuances, leading to that 9.9% error rate.

The Importance of Professional Advice

This brings us to an essential lesson: before you sell your home, it's crucial to consult with a real estate professional. As someone who’s been in the real estate game for a while, I can’t stress this enough. A real estate agent can provide a much more accurate assessment of your home’s value, considering all those little details that an algorithm might miss.

I've seen firsthand how relying solely on Zestimates can lead to disappointment. Sellers often get excited about a high Zestimate, only to find out from a real estate agent that their home is worth less. On the flip side, some sellers undervalue their homes based on a low Zestimate and miss out on potential profit.

The Bottom Line

So, what’s the bottom line here? While Zillow’s Zestimates can be a useful starting point, they’re not the gold standard. Treat them as a rough estimate rather than a definitive value. Always get a professional appraisal or a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a trusted real estate agent to get the most accurate picture of your home’s worth.

In the world of real estate, knowledge is power. Understanding the limitations of tools like Zestimates can save you from potential pitfalls. Whether you’re buying or selling, make sure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions.

A Real-Life Example

Let me share a real-life example to illustrate this point. I had a client who was ready to sell their home, relying on the Zestimate, which put their home value at $700,000. Excited about this figure, they started planning their next move. However, after a thorough market analysis, we found out their home was actually worth $630,000. It was a tough pill to swallow, but it was better to know the truth upfront rather than face disappointments later.

On the flip side, I’ve had clients who thought their home was worth less than its actual value. A proper assessment revealed a higher worth, leading to a better sale price and more money in their pocket. These experiences underscore the importance of getting professional advice.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while Zillow’s Zestimates can give you a ballpark figure, they’re not infallible. A 9.9% median error rate is significant and can mean a big difference in the actual value of your home. Before making any decisions, consult with a real estate professional who can provide a detailed and accurate assessment.

So, next time you’re curious about your home’s value, remember to take that Zestimate with a grain of salt and reach out to a pro for the real deal. Happy home selling (or buying)!

Daniele Gordon, P.A.

Associate Broker

Coldwell Banker Realty 

 954.589.7787

 [email protected]

 www.DanieleGordon.com

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