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“Zestimates” Are Not As Good As Comps

There are more tools available than ever for the average person interested in buying or selling a home. The internet provides numerous resources for everything related to real estate – locating properties, viewing, listing, advice on buying and selling and even pricing calculators.

Zillow is one of the more popular real estate websites that offer many of these tools. Unfortunately, while these tools can certainly prove handy, there are times when using them can give you unreliable information.

The problem with Zillow home value estimates

Sites like Zillow have great potential to empower buyers and sellers. Where once the world of comparable sales and real estate values was understood only by real estate agents, now everyday buyers and sellers can learn tons of useful information about area properties including their own.

They no longer have to go to a real estate agent for every little bit of knowledge. The problem is, the estimates – or “Zestimates” as Zillow calls them – are not always accurate. In fact, they can be wildly off, leaving the buyer or seller worse off than before they looked at them.

Zillow may do its best to give you an accurate price of what a home is worth. In the end, though, it is only an automated system that cannot think for itself.

“We call it a Zestimate and not a zeppraisal and not a zeprice. It’s meant to be a starting point,” Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow said. “To determine a more accurate opinion of a home’s value you should hire a real-estate agent, or more to the point, you should sell the house and then you will know how much it’s worth.”