Zillows Home Value Estimates (“Zestimates”), Accurate or Not?

Kyle Hiscock
Published on July 8, 2014

Zillows Home Value Estimates (“Zestimates”), Accurate or Not?

Zillow's Home Value Estimates ("Zestimates") - Accurate or Not

Zillow’s Home Value Estimates (“Zestimates”) – Accurate or Not

The internet is filled with tons of information.  Some very good information and lots of very bad, inaccurate information!  The internet has drastically changed many industries and the real estate industry is no different.  Buyer’s and seller’s are able to get information in the comfort of their homes, however, much of it is inaccurate.

Anyone who has interest in the real estate industry has heard of the company Zillow.  If not, according to Zillow they are an online “real estate marketplace” that helps buyers, sellers, renters, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, and others find information regarding anything real estate.

Zillow does provide a handful of helpful tools for buyers and sellers.  One tool that Zillow provides is an app that allows a potential buyer to find information on a home while they are in front of that particular home.  So what is not to like about Zillow?  It can be summed up in one word, their “Zestimates.”  A “Zestimate,” is Zillow’s estimated market value for a home.  They provide these “Zestimates” for millions of homes nationwide.  Are Zillows home value estimates accurate?  The answer is NO.

A question that real estate professionals are hearing more and more is, “How accurate are Zillow’s estimates?”  How about this common statement from a potential seller, “Zillow said my home is worth $300,000 and you’re saying that the market value is only $250,000?”  Of course you cannot forget the statement from a potential buyer, “This house is way overpriced, Zillow’s said the home is worth $225,000 and it’s listed for $300,000?”

We decided to see how inaccurate Zillow’s home value estimates (“Zestimates”) are in our local Rochester, NY real estate market.

How Do Zillow’s “Zestimates” Compare to Recent Homes Sold in the Greater Rochester, NY Area?
It is easy for a buyer, a seller, or a real estate agent to say that “Zestimates” are wrong, so we’ve decided to look at 38 homes that closed on Thursday, July 3rd.  The homes that were analyzed ranged in location, price point, styles, and square footage.

Price Comparison Showed 18 of 38 Homes Sold Close to Zillow’s “Zestimate:”

  • 75 Sperry Drive, Henrietta, NY: Zestimate was $116K. Sale price was $121,900. $5,900 Low
  • 77 Old Post Road, Fairport, NY: Zestimate was $165K.  Sale price was $164,000.  $1,000 High
  • 16 Meadow Wood Drive, Fairport, NY: Zestimate was $127K.  Sale price was $131,000.  $4,000 Low
  • 11 Olde Orchard Lane, Fairport, NY: Zestimate was $175K.  Sale price was $175,000.
  • 205 David Avenue, Brighton, NY: Zestimate was $154K.  Sale price was $152,500.  $1,500 High
  • 2163 Highland Avenue, Brighton, NY: Zestimate was $153K.  Sale price was $157,000.  $4,000 Low
  • 80 Brentwood Drive, Penfield, NY: Zestimate was $271K.  Sale price was $270,000.  $1,000 High
  • 1730 Creek Street, Penfield, NY: Zestimate was $184K.  Sale price was $185,000.  $1,000 Low
  • 15 Greenwood Street, Rochester, NY: Zestimate was $147K.  Sale price was $142,500.  $4,000 High
  • 37 Crossbow Drive, Penfield, NY: Zestimate was $287K.  Sale price was $285,000.  $2,000 High
  • 32 Lodge Drive, Irondequoit, NY: Zestimate was $103K.  Sale price was $106,000.  $3,000 Low
  • 614 Concord Drive, Webster, NY: Zestimate was $165K.  Sale price was $166,000.  $1,000 Low
  • 153 Pinecrest Drive, Irondequoit, NY: Zestimate was $172K.  Sale price was $174,000.  $2,000 Low

Under 50% of the 38 homes that were compared sold close to Zillow’s “Zestimate.”  A real estate agent who prices 50% of the homes they list correctly, will not be in the business very long.  A great real estate agent should have a 95%+ list price to sale price ratio.

Price Comparison Showed 5 of 38 Homes Sold Reasonably Close to Zillow’s “Zestimate:”

  • 12 Brookshire Lane, Penfield, NY: Zestimate was $208K.  Sale price was $222,500. $14,500 Low
  • 9 Lone Oak Circle, Penfield, NY: Zestimate was $115K.  Sale price was $129,900.  $14,900 Low
  • 50 Whitespire Lane, Penfield, NY: Zestimate was $377K.  Sale price was $369,000.  $8,000 High
  • 239 Rogers Parkway, Irondequoit, NY: Zestimate was $109K.  Sale price was $115,900.  $6,900 Low

Price Comparison Showed 15 of 38 Homes Sold for Much Less/More Than Zillow’s “Zestimate:”

  • 140 Campfire Road North, Henrietta, NY: Zestimate was $120K.  Sale price was $138,000.  $18,000 Low
  • 6 Sutton Point, Pittsford, NY: Zestimate was $361K.  Sale price was $390,000.  $29,000 Low
  • 190 Idlewood Road, Brighton, NY: Zestimate was $266K.  Sale price was $219,000. $47,000 High
  • 19 Widewaters Lane, Pittsford, NY: Zestimate was $370K.  Sale price was $475,000.  $105,000 Low
  • 106 Garden Drive, Fairport, NY: Zestimate was $345K.  Sale price was $370,000.  $25,000 Low
  • 31 Creekside Lane, Pittsford, NY: Zestimate was $320K.  Sale price was $345,000.  $25,000 Low
  • 130 Burrows Hills Drive, Penfield, NY: Zestimate was $131K.  Sale price was $165,700.  $34,700 Low
  • 23 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Fairport, NY: Zestimate was $243K.  Sale price was $266,900.  $26,900 Low
  • 199 Cypress Street, Rochester, NY: Zestimate was $94K.  Sale price was $122,100.  $28,100 Low
  • 66 Mayflower Drive, Brighton, NY: Zestimate was $171K.  Sale price was $214,900.  $43,900 Low
  • 1682 Blossom Road, Brighton, NY: Zestimate was $95K.  Sale price was $115,000.  $20,000 Low
  • 565 Corwin Road, Brighton, NY: Zestimate was $155K.  Sale price was $240,000.  $85,000 Low
  • 1037 Wickerton Lane, Webster, NY: Zestimate was $190K.  Sale price was $220,000.  $30,000 Low
  • 960 Lake Road, Webster, NY: Zestimate was $556K.  Sale price was $575,000.  $19,000 Low
  • 246 Dickinson Road, Webster, NY: Zestimate was $125K.  Sale price was $155,000.  $30,000 Low

Zillows Inaccurate "Zestimates" can be frustrating to buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and others!

Zillows Inaccurate “Zestimates” can be frustrating to buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and others!

Almost 40% of the 38 homes that were used in this comparison sold for much less money or much more money.  As a homeowner, if Zillow’s “Zestimate” said your home is worth $370,000, a real estate agent doesn’t complete a comparative market analysis, lists it for $370,000, it sells, but come to find out comparable properties are selling for $450,000+, how would that make you feel?

As you can see above, there are several recent homes sold in Rochester, NY that were grossly under valued as well as over valued by Zillow’s “Zestimates.”  This is not only happening in the Greater Rochester, NY area, but nationwide!  Check out Debbie Drummond’s detailed analysis of “Zillow’s Las Vegas Home Value Estimates.”

Why Else Should You Not Rely on Zillow?
It is as clear as day that the Zillow “Zestimates” are not accurate, period.  So other than the inaccurate “Zestimates,” why else should you not rely on Zillow?  Below are just a couple reasons on why Zillow shouldn’t be the trusted for localized real estate information!

Many broker's nationwide are stopping their syndication to third-party sites, like Zillow!  Nothnagle Realtors is just one of them!

Many broker’s nationwide are stopping their syndication to third-party sites, like Zillow! Nothnagle Realtors is just one of them!

  • Outdated Data – Non third-party websites are required by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and usually by state/local licensing authorities to maintain a current inventory of properties on the market.  It is extremely common that a buyer comes across a “listing” on Zillow and asks their real estate agent about it only to find out it was sold and closed 3-6 months ago!  This can be extremely frustrating to a buyer.
  • Selling “Leads” –  When a homeowner selects the “right” real estate agent to sell their home, they have selected them for a number of reasons.  Third-party websites, like Zillow, generate profit from selling ad space.  Buyers inquiring about a property are steered to an agent whose only qualification was that they were willing to pay to be featured on these third-party websites.  This is a disservice to a seller, as in most cases, they would prefer to have an agent who knows about their home answering the questions also known as the listing agent!  Additionally, an agent who is receiving these “leads” will often try and sell their own listings first.

Due to these two reasons, and many others, our Broker, Nothnagle Realtors, and many other large real estate Brokers nationwide have stopped syndicating company listings to these third-party sites like Zillow and Trulia.

So, Where Should Real Estate Information Be Gathered?
Local, Local, Local!  Zillow is not a local expert in the real estate industry in any community nationwide.  They are, however, a very good marketing company.  They are able to show up in the top three when searching anything regarding real estate.  “Homes for sale Rochester, NY,” “Houses for sale Hopkinton, MA,” “Luxury Homes for sale Las Vegas, NV,” “Real Estate for sale Coral Springs, FL.”  Go ahead try it!

So, anyone looking for quality real estate information, needs to be speaking with the local real estate experts, not getting their information from third-party websites which doesn’t have local knowledge, expertise, or experience!

Other Excellent Zillow Resources

What experiences have you had with Zillow’s “Zestimates?”  We’d love to hear!  If you are wondering how accurate Zillow’s “Zestimates” are in your local community, please feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to put you in touch with a qualified and experienced local real estate expert within your community!

 


About the authors:  The above article “Zillows Home Value Estimates (“Zestimates”), Accurate or Not?” was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

Visit our website at www.HiscockHomes.com.

© 2014 – 2016, Kyle Hiscock. All rights reserved.

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