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Why Zestimates Can Be Misleading

By Laura Huntley February 11, 2018

Why Zestimates Can Be Misleading

I am a Raleigh Realtor and will tell you why Zestimates can be misleading.  My listing for a beautiful Luxury Home was undervalued by Zillow by 18%.  If you are thinking about selling your home in Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill, NC read on.

  1. Zestimates lack of accuracy in listing information.  The listings many times do not reflect important details that are valuable, and the
  2. Zestimates are very often off by a significant percentage. [In a  Washington Post article, a Washington D.C. brokerage was quoted for documenting that Zestimates are getting worse. Of 500 estimates, the values ranged from 62% under, to 150% over the actually sold figures.]

Zestimates Can Be Misleading Because They Are Calculated Based on a Rough Estimate of Value

Zillow is wrong more than they’ve been right. Why?   They use an algorithm to formulate values across the country. The same methodology is used in every location. It’s not possible that a “one-size-fits-all” approach could be accurate when the value of your home depends on so many local and subjective variables.

A complicated formula can come up with a ballpark estimate, but this approach can be misleading because your home is unique. Home values in your neighborhood can vary dramatically compared to another neighborhood.  There are many reasons.  Neighborhood amenities and proximity to power lines, highways, and commercial hubs affect the value of your home.

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Real estate is local, even micro-local. Values for similar homes in one neighborhood can be completely different in a neighborhood only blocks away. Zillow can’t get inside a home and see the features that add value to your home…like an updated kitchen,  gorgeous hardwoods, quartz countertops, custom cabinets and high-end appliances; compared to a similar home with basic builder grade finishes and 15-year-old carpet.

All online algorithms like Zestimates and valuations from other platforms are inaccurate. They are machine computations. Estimates are just that, estimates. In addition, a lot of the appraisals that are conducted by licensed appraisers are also inaccurate and often come in lower or higher than what they should. And remember, appraisals are static and do not reflect constantly changing housing market.

Case And Point

There is nothing better than boots on the ground knowledge of an expert Realtor.  I recently listed a luxury home for sale that had a Zestimate of about $936,000.  I contacted Zillow offering details about the unique features of the home and correct square footage.  As a result, the Zillow revised its Zestimate to about $1,100,000.  The original Zestimate off by about 18%.

If you are planning to list your home for sale in the Raleigh NC area, nothing is better than local market knowledge.  I will personally visit your home, have it professionally measured and recommend ways to add value to your home.

You can trust Raleigh NC  Realtor® , Laura Huntley to give you the most accurate data for your home in today’s market.  Contact me for a FREE custom Home Value Report .