May 9, 2016

Can you Rely on Zillow for an Accurate Estimate for Home Buyers?

For those home buyers who are looking to the World Wide Web for home price estimates, you may want to do some research before you choose a good source. Recently there has been a lot of talk about the legitimacy of online estimates, specifically with one of the net’s largest real estate information sites, Zillow.com.

There has been a lot of talk between homeowner’s and real estate professionals alike about Zillow’s capacity to provide accurate estimates on homes, which they refer to as “Zestimates”.

Zillow’s own CEO Spencer Rascoff has had his property up for sale multiple times, and recently tweeted on the topic:

“Very few listings in Madison Park – hoping it will attract a lot of buyer interest. Seattle is a seller’s market. @zillow Premier Agent @gstephenson is the listing agent”.

Spencer Rascoff initially had the base price for his home set at $1,199,000 with a “Zestimate” value of $1,606,525. Eight days later however, the property’s price dropped to $60,000 less. While price drops are a normal occurrence, the website Zillow failed to show the change in price, resulting in incorrect information on their site. The mistake created a debate on Zillow’s attention to detail, as well as the accuracy of their “Zestimates”.

Zillow’s advertisement is compared to Redfin, one of Seattle’s trusted real estate site below:

Can you Rely on Zillow for an Accurate Estimate for Home Buyers?

The inaccuracy of Zillow’s pricing and Zestimate are very far off from the actual data and price of the home for sale. As mentioned by Sea Bubble, Data shown below also displays how Zillow has refrained from showing the home’s previous listings in the past in the year 2008-2009. There is also a discrepancy with Zillow creating a new MLS number for the property every time the price was altered, suggesting that they are attempting to gain more “new listings” alerts for agents even though it’s the same property.

Can you Rely on Zillow for an Accurate Estimate for Home Buyers?

Can you Rely on Zillow for an Accurate Estimate for Home Buyers?

An article posted by LA Times faced the topic head on and asked the big question to Spencer Rascoff: Are Zestimates accurate?

Rascoff’s explained that they’re “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%.

With an 8% error rate that means that with a home with a price tag of $300,000 has a $24,000 discrepancy, which for home buyers is quite a huge deal.

Home buyers new and experienced can use Zillow as a starting point as Rascoff suggests, but they should not take the numbers too seriously. It’s best to rely on getting your information from an informed agent who knows the current market and who can get you real time numbers for your home search.

Are you looking for an accurate estimate on your home? Our free home valuation can help you get started with a fair and accurate estimate. At Showcase Realty, we’re happy to help you with any of your home buying and selling needs in today’s market. If you’d like to speak with one of our qualified agents, send us a message here or call us at 704.997.3794.

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