Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, chances are you’re using Zillow as one of the tools in your arsenal. One of the portal’s most well known and utilized tools is the Zestimate, which allows users to see the Zillow estimated market value of a home. Though we agree that this is a useful tool, a recent lawsuit regarding its accuracy is a reminder that a Zestimate should not take the place of a Realtor’s market analysis or an analysis by a certified appraiser.
Good Morning America fleshes out out the story below.
The Zestimate tool has “a fault factor of roughly five percent” according to the report. That means that one in 20 homes is estimated at up 20 percent less than they are actually worth when using the tool. The homeowner in the story is suing Zillow for estimating her home’s value at $64,000 below its actual worth, stating that the tool lumped her home in with other homes that have no bearing on her home’s value.
Maximize your Zestimate.
Though a Zestimate does have an error factor, making sure your ZIllow home profile is completely and accurately filled out will ensure that you have a more precise price estimate.
- Claim your home. Create a Zillow account, search your address and claim your home. From there you can flesh out all of the details of your home, from square footage to a written description. This gives them more than a zip code and nearby sales for their calculus.
- Update all of your home’s amenities. If one of your home’s amenities has bonus features, (ex: a finished, plumbed basement) be sure to include that in each amenities description.
- Write a shiny description of your home that is tailored to what you believe most potential buyers are looking for.
- Include any details about your neighborhood that might be desirable to a potential buyer, such as proximity to transit, schools, parks etc. Feel free to get creative, but don’t exaggerate any details.
Don’t forget to talk with your realtor.
Zillow has stated that a Zestimate should be viewed as a starting point, not an appraisal. As Shart Tank investor Barbara Corcoram states in the video, the best way to get an accurate value for a home is to “talk to a real estate agent who really knows what they’re doing.”
If you have any questions on home values or any of the tools we as Brokers use to get a glimpse of the market, we’re happy to help.