Knowledge is power, especially when buying or selling a home. The Internet can provide consumers with an abundance of resources that can be used to make informed decisions. But merely taking information at face value is not enough.
One of the most popular sources right now is Zillow, specifically it’s valuation tool, the zestimate. Zillow defines a zestimate as ” an estimated market value for a home, computed using a proprietary formula. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value and is not an official appraisal.”
Zillow itself warns consumers against blindly using a zestimate to set or consider a listing price. With a little more research into the website, one can find Zillow’s Zestimate Accuracy Table. This chart is a good starting point for putting your zestimate into perspective. The data can be whittled down by county to show accuracy of zestimates in a specific area.
Let’s take Fulton county for example. IN FULTON COUNTY, 51% OF THE ZESTIMATES ARE CALCULATED WITHIN 5% OF THE ACTUAL SALE PRICE. THE MEDIAN ERROR IS 4.8%. What does this mean?
Basically, Zillow says that for a home in the $300,000 price range in Fulton County, their typical error is $14,400 – but you don’t know if that’s $14,400 too high or $14, 400 too low. And it gets worse because HALF the time Zillow zestimates are off by more than $14,400, sometimes a lot more.
Our advice? Use your zestimate for what it is – a piece of a much bigger picture. The market is changing constantly and ultimately your home is worth what the market is willing to pay. Working with a knowledgeable realtor that understands the local market is your best option for a comprehensive game plan.