Zillow seems to be the go-to source when it comes to finding out information about their homes’ value and what is for sale in the area. Lots of sellers have used Zillow zestimates to decide how much to sell their home for. The question is how accurate is Zillow?
Zillow gets it’s zestimate from the surrounding homes on the market and it does an alright job, but in an area like the Phoenix metro it can’t always take into account the major price differences between neighborhoods that could be right next to each other. In Mesa it can be especially difficult due to the diversity of neighborhoods and their diverse offerings of amenities in close proximity to each other.
For example, in Mesa I recently had to find the value of a home on Hawes Rd just north of McKellips. I noticed that the zestimate was about $80,000 high, because it was comparing the home to homes in the Mountain Bridge community just south of McKellips. These homes are within walking distance of each other, but Mountain Bridge is a neighborhood with many more amenities that add value as well as the homes are about 30 years newer. This is just one example of how a computer model might miss something that a human real estate agent would easily spot.
When checking on a homes zestimate if you click on the zestimate an information box will pop up that says, “The Zestimate is Zillow's best estimate of this home's market value. It is not an appraisal and it should be used as a starting point.” I agree with that statement by Zillow. It is a great starting point to see if you’re at least in the ballpark, but it by no means should be your only source of information.
According to Zillow at the time of writing this article 87% of their zestimates are withing 5% of the actual value of the homes. Mesa has a median home price of $426,000 which would mean that they could be off by just over $21,000. I know from my own experience that a home at that price range would sit on the market because buyers wouldn’t want to pay an extra $21,000 for that home. On the flip side if you listed your home for $21,000 less than it’s worth then you as the seller would be losing money.
I don’t think Zillow is bad. Afterall Zillow pioneered the ability for home buyers and sellers to see what is currently for sale without having to go into a real estate office. This made homebuying much more convenient and easier for millions of people over the past two decades. I think consumers should be aware that a Zillow zestimate shouldn’t be the standard that they use to value their home. A competent real estate agent should still be consulted when it comes to pricing your property, because even though computers and artificial intelligence have come a long way, they just haven’t been able to replace an actual human yet when it comes to valuing a home.
I have a home value estimator tool on this website, but I’ll be the first to tell you that it is only a starting point and an estimate and can help you get an idea of which way the market is moving.