Real Estate

How Accurate Is a Zillow Home Estimate? Latest Update

How Accurate Is a Zillow Home Estimate? Homebuyers frequently wish to learn a property’s price without using a real estate agent. Real estate websites like can be helpful in this situation. Can you actually rely on a Zillow home estimate, though?

The process by which Zillow creates a Zestimate, or estimate of a home’s value, is the first item to comprehend. The website claims that Zestimates are based on a unique algorithm that takes into account user-submitted data as well as public records. A Zillow home value, however, is not an appraisal and could not have all the information required to make it as accurate as possible.

How Zillow’s Estimates Work

Zillow obtains information from real estate brokerages, multiple listing services, tax assessor, and county records (MLS). Additionally, user-submitted data is included. For instance, a homeowner might get in touch with Zillow to update details about the characteristics of their home. By providing accurate data on the home’s finished square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and lot size, the owner can increase the Zestimate’s accuracy.

How Zillow's Estimates Work
How Zillow’s Estimates Work

How an Agent Estimates Home Value

Typically, an agent will start their evaluation of a property by looking at it from an above, satellite view on Google. They take note of factors including whether it backs up to a busy street, its closeness to businesses or freeways, the size of neighboring homes, the landscape and vegetation, and its exposure to the sun. They will look at any outside pictures that are accessible, in addition to a street scene.

Then, a broker might carry out an automatic appraisal. There are two methods for doing this: the first makes use of specialized real estate software, while the second makes use of MLS-direct sales. Although the values produced by these two procedures frequently differ greatly from one another, when combined, they can produce a range of values.

Armed with this knowledge, the agent inspects the house, views it from the perspective of a buyer and an appraiser, and takes into account how the home will be positioned in relation to the competition on the market.

How Appraisers Assess Value

The lender will want a home appraisal before approving your mortgage. This typically costs several hundred dollars, and the customer is responsible for payment.

The state must license and certify home appraisers. It is their responsibility to make an objective evaluation of the house’s worth. They’ll take a walk-through of the residence and compare its characteristics to a checklist as they go to accomplish this. They will evaluate the property for obvious flaws, but not in the same manner that a home inspector would.

Typically, appraisers produce a written assessment report that includes images of the property, a street map, details on similar properties, and market statistics.

Zestimate Accuracy

Zillow does not guarantee its accuracy. A Zillow estimate will be significantly more accurate if there aren’t enough distinct differences among the homes within a six-block radius for it to be wrong by more than 10%. In some instances, such as for older neighborhoods with many homes that have been improved in different ways, it won’t be that close at all.

Zillow is now unable to foretell how a buyer would feel when they enter a home. It can’t tell you whether the inside has been modernized, whether the construction quality is high, whether the materials were of low quality, or whether a nearby school has lowered the value of nearby homes that back up to the football field. When they are familiar with the neighborhood and have personally inspected the home, real estate agents and appraisers take into account a variety of aspects.

The value of a home can be predicted by a variety of software tools. Even real estate brokers utilize software, but they do not solely rely on these tools. To create its Zestimates, Zillow uses artificial intelligence.

Zillow Home Values vs. Actual Sale Prices

To show some of the differences between the two values, the following four typical residences’ price outcomes are compared with their Zillow Zestimates at the time of sale.

In Midtown Sacramento, on a busy street near the railroad tracks, close to the sound of the freeway, and across from the business property, one property consists of two residences on a lot. While Zillow put the worth of that house at $380,733, it actually sold for $349,000 after spending nearly six months on the market and receiving a lot of exposure. The Zillow estimate was around 9% too high in this instance.

The second residence was a distinctive waterfront mansion in Sacramento’s Pocket neighborhood. Although Zillow valued that house at $983,097, it ultimately sold for $1,085,000, which was 10% more than the Zillow estimate. If the sellers had relied on the Zillow estimate, they would have lost more than $100,000.

The third house was a rebuilt house in a posh neighborhood close to the University of California, Davis in Davis, California. That house had a Zillow value of $1,230,563, but it really sold for $1,495,000 in a cash transaction without any financing. That Zestimate was over 20% undervalued.

The fourth house was an Elk Grove, California, lakeside house. Once more, the $488,711 Zillow estimate was too low. At $565,500, the house sold for a 16% premium.

Zillow’s Home Estimates as a Starting Point

Zillow’s Home Estimates as a Starting Point
Zillow’s Home Estimates as a Starting Point

To provide website users with a range of values, the Zestimate was created. It’s not intended to take the place of an assessment or a real estate expert’s advice. Because they are aware that the seller is looking at Zillow values, many agents might check out those values before meeting with a seller. Zillow is not, however, used by real estate brokers to set a home’s price.

To demonstrate how fantastic of a deal their clients are getting when purchasing a home, agents occasionally advise their clients to review a home’s price on Zillow (provided that the Zestimate is much higher than the actual sales price, of course). With agents, it’s used sparingly. When the price is favorable to them, they may utilize it as support for their client. Even banks are ignorant of better practices, thus in a short-sale scenario, for instance, where the offer is greater than a Zestimate, a short-sale agent may bring up the Zestimate when negotiating with the short-sale bank.

Zillow provides its customers with a lot more than just the Zestimate feature. The Zestimate can cause viewers to ignore the plethora of other data on the website, such as similar sales and area demographics. Any first-time home buyer or home seller in a real estate transaction may find all of these to be extremely helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I remove my home estimate from Zillow?

You cannot remove your Zestimate from the service, claims Zillow. To obtain a more precise estimate of value, you can edit any data that Zillow holds on your house.

What is a rent Zestimate?

For many residences, Zillow also offers rent estimates. This reflects Zillow’s estimation of the monthly rent that a certain home would fetch if it were to be rented out instead of sold. Typically, a range is used to express it.

How do I estimate the value of my home?

Services like Zillow offer a single estimation of your home’s value but do not provide a final appraisal. The most accurate evaluation of a home’s value is provided by a professional appraiser, according to lenders. Even two different appraisals may not agree on the fair market value of your house, thus this estimate might not be perfect. To obtain the most accurate evaluation of your home’s value, it’s best to combine your own research with the perspective of a real estate agent and an appraiser.

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