ZILLOW “Zestimates” vs. Reality

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The spring and summer real estate selling season is upon us, and home values are steadily on the rise.  With the continued activity in the marketplace, a number of people are placing their properties on the market and/or searching for a new place to call home. Today’s consumer has become very knowledgeable and savvy, with many turning to the web to educate themselves on the area and what pricing looks like.  However, with so many web site and research choices available to the consumer, some are far better resources of information than others.  One of the more popular, yet arguable most unreliable, is Zillow, and it offers information that could potentially cost a consumer tens of thousands of dollars.

Potential customers might ask you about the market analysis of properties called a “Zestimate”.  Zillow openly publishes the accuracy of the “Zestimates”.  As a local example, Zillow says its accuracy level for Tampa is plus or minus 8.7 percent.  So, on a $300,000 home, a Zestimate will give the consumer a number between $273,900 to $326,100.  That is quite a potential for either unrealistic pricing expectations or missing out on thousands of dollars with a listing priced way too low.  Taking the statistics a step further, 21.7 percent of local property Zestimates have an error rate of 20 percent or more – an unimpressive number to be sure.

Furthermore, statistical analysis conducted in October 2015 found that Realtor.com has zillow chartabout 20 percent more MLS-listed, for-sale homes advertised in the US than Zillow.  The gap is even wider in some markets such as Salt Lake City, where Realtor.com has 109 percent more listings.  Closer to home, the analysis found that realtor.com had 52 percent more listings than Zillow in the Miami area.

Knowing these statistics allows you to explain to potential clients that while Zillow might be a fine place to start, if they are doing home searches exclusively on Zillow, they potentially aren’t seeing every property on the market and could ultimately be missing their dream home altogether.  Your best bet for up-to-date listings is Realtor.com (updated every 15 minutes) or check my website www.realestatelistingsbydebdevlin.com where you have a direct MLS search.

With my own personal 13 years of real estate experience, I frequently have clients that are disappointed with homes they found and got excited about on Zillow. The home is already under contract and/or was not on the market for sale at all! I have taken the complete appraisal training course. Numbers do not lie and I show the true value range of your home depending on its community, location within the community, condition (upgrades & remodel) compared to other active and recently sold homes.  I will also request that we visit comparable homes that are active in your community BEFORE listing yours.  This gives you and me a complete visual understanding how your home compares to the competition.

Exerted from the original article by Michael Kitchens, appearing in www.businessmagazinegainsville.com February 2016 http://www.zillow.com/zestimate/#acc
http://www.floridarealtors.org/newsandevents/article.cfm?id=330350

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