Zill-OH-NO: Why You Shouldn’t Trust Zillow’s Data

Learn why you shouldn't trust Zillow Zestimates!

I had a few minutes this past week to catch up on some recorded TV shows. Within minutes, I witnessed a bit of product placement in one show. Normally I wouldn’t mind… we’ve all seen the occasional Pizza Hut Box, Pepsi Product, Coors Light Bottle in the background of a TV show, etc. But this was for Zillow! To make it worse, they even included dialogue for Zillow in the scene!!

Immediately my focus shifted from enjoying the show to thinking about how incredibly inaccurate much of Zillow’s data is.

I’m a REALTOR® and some might think Zillow makes my job easier… but it actually makes it harder. Understand that their property “Zestimate” is just an estimate created by a computer algorithm… an estimate that they themselves have stated can be off by approximately 9%… not Locally, but Nationally!

Actual studies have been done on this margin of error and they’ve found that Zillow’s prices can be off by as much 42% in some local areas:

LA Times Zillow article quote
source: LA Times: Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a source of conflict over home prices

That’s nearly half a home’s value or double a home’s value depending on which side of the transaction you’re on!!!

We know that their system is designed to simply compile and analyze “sold home” data in a certain area over an extended period of time in order to come up with their estimates. But it’s not taking into consideration other very important points that a REALTOR would. Buyers are often given bad Zestimates and end up thinking they can get a terrific home at an unrealistic price way below the current neighborhood median. Sellers are given an amount that far exceeds the recently sold comparable properties.

Simply put, Zillow’s info is a mess.

Zillow doesn’t factor in an individual home’s features that can make it more desirable to a Buyer. While not every upgrade or remodel can add value, many can make the home more attractive, which means that it becomes more “sellable”.

There’s a reason why certified home appraisers can’t just look at a property’s Zestimate on Zillow, give it a stamp of approval, and send it to a Lender to be used for a home loan. The Zestimate is not Gospel, yet much of the public incorrectly treats it as such.

Please don’t get me wrong,  I’m all for ease/convenience. Nothing is easier than going on your computer or phone and ordering that Pizza Hut Pizza and Pepsi from an app. But I just don’t think incorrect real estate information is very valuable…. certainly not when researching buying or selling a Las Vegas or Henderson, NV home.

Leave that to the Professionals and contact us for a free market analysis for your home, or to setup your free and accurate home search today!

– Mike Rebarchick

p.s. By the way, here are a couple recent articles about Zillow and the inaccuracy of its data:

Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a source of conflict over home prices
How accurate is Zillow’s Zestimate?

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