What You Need to Know About Zestimates from Zillow
Thanks to the information age, we have access to all the information we could imagine at our fingertips 24/7. The website Zillow offers Zestimates so you can see what a home is worth without having to talk to a real estate agent. With the ability to view all of this information online it can be easy to think that professionals like real estate agents are no longer necessary. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the expertise of an experienced agent is more important than ever as you try to navigate through the "facts" that you find online.
Not Everything Is True
Over the past few decades as a society we have fallen into the trap of believing everything we read online. We have forgotten that there are no requirements or prerequisites required for someone to publish information on the internet. While it can provide us with a lot of valuable information, it also provides us with a lot of untrue statistics. It is now are job to differentiate between the two, and that is not always easy.
The first step is remembering that not everything online is true. Zillow does its best to provide home valuations that are accurate, but technology is still limited.
Mistakes and Errors
Zestimates are based on the calculations of algorithms. These algorithms use information that is inputted by people. People make mistakes. It may be easy to spot these errors in your own home listing, but you still don't know how the correct information will impact the results. And, the process is even more complicated when you are viewing potential homes to buy. Without talking to an agent or seeing the house in person, you have no way of determining if the information is true.
Zestimates use details that are listed on public records. That means there could be changes made that are undocumented to the house. If you have recently made upgrades to your house, but didn't need to pull permits, Zillow has no way of knowing that this happened. A 3 bedroom house that has been recently upgraded can sell for more than the 50 year old 3 bedroom house next door that has never been upgraded.
Hot markets with lots of home sales will provide more accurate estimates because they are based off the current sale prices in your area. However, if you are in a slower market or a smaller market Zestimates could be inaccurate.
What to Remember
During the last algorithm upgrade to Zestimates, Zillow announced that there is an error rate of 6%. While this is an improvement, it still proves that you should not make decisions based off of this information. Zestimates were never intended for homeowners or home buyers to make financial decisions from. Buying or selling a house is the biggest financial decision that most consumers will make. Deciding to make a decision off of an internet provided number without using a real estate professional leaves a lot of room for error.
Real estate agents are knowledgeable professionals that can help you buy or sell a house. They can provide you with the real time details that you need to determine the value of a home. The internet can provide some information to get you started in the right direction, but it does not replace the experience and expertise of real life real estate professionals.