Monday, February 10, 2014

What is your home worth? Go to Zillow? (Zestimates can hurt the market & cost you money)

Would you like to know what your home is worth without having to contact your real estate professional? Just go to and see what your home is worth right???? Not exactly! As a real estate professional, we spend years learning the art of evaluating a property and giving advice to customers to show them what it will take to sell their home. Because of the "I want it now" mentality of consumers (myself included), many are turning to websites like Zillow to get their home values. It would be fantastic if websites like Zillow could predict prices that easily and tell you what your home is worth; however, they are just simply wrong. Real estate is not just a data driven business. It is a "FEEL" business. You can't put a value on the "Feel" that people will have when they walk through a home and decide whether they want to raise their family there. Ever heard of professional stagers and interior decorators. People that use these services often get more value for their homes. You can't put it into data. It just is what it is. Today I had a customer ask me why their home was not on Zillow. It was there a couple of weeks ago. Now it's not, and it's not sold yet either. So I went to Zillow where they randomly decide for no apparent reason when to remove or add listings. They also try to sell me advertising to get my listings back on their website where people will find it first. Go figure.... Anyways, I manually uploaded everything into their system. When I did this the "Zestimate" came up and estimated that the property was worth $60k less than the actual price. I decided to look my own personal home up and it had had it estimated for much less than I paid for it and much less than it's true value. What if I was trying to sell my home? This inaccurate information could destroy my property value. Nice...So the next time we have buyers, they will think our homes are worth less than what we actually paid for them. This hurts clients at re-sale time. As an agent we also see this hurt clients who think their home is worth more than what it is. Now people inflate their listing prices and wonder why they can't sell their homes. I bet it's just a bad Realtor right? My only advice is to stay away from websites and apps like ZILLOW. They are an unfair estimate of value. A better way to calculate an estimate would be to put prices on a dart board and start throwing. When two darts land on the same number, that is the true value. Well maybe not. On a serious note....just call a solid real estate professional. It will save you time and money!