What's in a Zestimate?

What’s in a Zestimate?

This week I attended the Zillow Premiere Agent Summit in NYC. Zillow is one of the key consumer portals for real estate. Many buyers and sellers begin their home search or agent search on Zillow. Recently, Zillow has acquired some other important real estate brands including Trulia, their biggest competitor, making the company an even more important player.

One of Zillow’s most popular features is the “Zestimate”— Zillow’s estimated market value for a property. As an agent, sometimes the Zestimate can be helpful as very rough way of looking at the market value of a property. I do refer to the Zestimate when I price a home simply because I know potential buyers are informed with this information. If an asking price is way off of a Zestimate in either direction it raises questions in the mind of a buyer. Yet, when buyers and sellers depend too heavily on its accuracy it can be become a real sticking point. I have had sellers insist that their homes are worth what their Zestimate is and this is not always the case.

Here are some things to keep in mind about the ever-popular Zestimate-

-Zillow calculates the Zestimate using propriety formula that uses 3 sources of data- a property’s physical attributes, tax assessments and prior sales prices

-A Zestimate is not a “Zappraisal”. It is neither an appraisal nor a CMA from a realtor—the folks at Zillow who created the Zestimate algorithm have never seen the inside of your home, your lot or your neighborhood.

-The national median error rate for Zestimates is 8.3%

-You can correct the information Zillow lists about your own home including square footage, the number of beds/baths or features and this may impact your Zestimate. My own home, which Zillow had listed at 6000 SF, is 2804 SF according to tax records. When I made this correction my Zestimate came down by almost $125,000.

If you have any questions about Zillow or the value of your home in the Maplewood, NJ area please contact me.

Allison Ziefert, Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct Realty, Maplewood, NJ

www.bestnjtowns.com or www.azhomesnj.com