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(720) 253‑8513‬ rogelio@vidabroker.com
Do Zestimates Really Suck?

In the ever-evolving landscape of real estate, the accuracy of online home valuation tools, particularly Zillow’s Zestimates, has become a hot topic among homeowners and professionals in the field. I recently delved into this subject in a video titled “Do Zestimates Suck,” shared on my Facebook and YouTube channels, aiming to highlight the differences between Zestimates, Realtor valuations, and appraisal valuations.

Reflecting on the past, I recall a time when homeowners, including myself, relied solely on the values provided by county assessors. But as we moved into the digital era, Zillow introduced Zestimates, revolutionizing how we perceive our homes’ worth by utilizing data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other resources. Despite the allure of these convenient tools, I’ve learned they should be viewed as a preliminary step rather than a definitive measure of a property’s value.

Since its foundation in 2005, Zillow has been a significant force in the real estate market. Zestimates emerged as a popular method for homeowners to get a quick glimpse of their property’s value. However, the precision of these estimates has often been questioned. With active listings showing a median error rate of 3.2% and off-market homes at 6.9%, it’s clear that these online valuations cannot always be taken at face value.

 

My experience has taught me that while Zestimates provide a useful starting point, the nuanced expertise of real estate agents and appraisers is irreplaceable. These professionals consider various factors, from home upgrades to the specifics of comparable sales, that automated models like Zestimates might overlook.

To put these valuation methods to the test, I randomly selected an address in North Denver and compared its Zestimate with the Realtors Property Resource (RPR) valuation and county records. The differences were telling:

 

     Zillow Zestimate: $428,000

     RPR Valuation: $439,000

     County Records: $423,000

This experiment reinforced the variability of valuation tools and the importance of consulting diverse sources for a well-rounded perspective.

Through my work, I’ve come to appreciate the critical role of local knowledge in determining a property’s value. Issues like the proximity to train tracks, schools, and crime rates can significantly impact valuations, aspects that online tools might not fully account for. Engaging with a local agent for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) or obtaining a professional appraisal offers the most accurate reflection of a property’s worth.

My exploration into the realm of online home valuations, particularly Zestimates, has underscored their limitations. The detailed and personalized analysis provided by real estate professionals far outweighs the convenience of automated valuation models. For those looking to understand the true value of their property, consulting with seasoned professionals is essential. It’s a practice I not only advocate for but also apply in my approach, ensuring that my clients and I make informed decisions in the real estate market.  Questions about your home values or want to chat?  Reach me at 720-724-8187, rogelio@vidabroker.com or fill out the form below. 

 

Sources: 

Housingwire

Investopedia

The Close
Trelora
Vida Property eXp Realty Home Values
 
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