So you think Zillow is all that ehh? Think again

As Realtors we would be unprepared to arrive at a listing appointment with out checking out the home’s “zestimate”!  Why? Because in most cases the home owner is absolutely confident that their home is worth what Zillow says it’s worth – After all it’s Zillow!

Well, not so much…Most of the time Zillow is in the “ball park”. If we as Realtors would place the value of your home at say $500,000, Zillow will likely show it somewhere between $450,000 & $550,000, quite a large ballpark and BOY do I have a great example of how wrong Zillow can be (see example graphic). I recently sold a home in Happy Valley for $460,000, Zillow feels the home is worth $720,000 even after showing the $460,000 sale. Why? Because two years ago it was worth that, but in Happy Valley we’ve seen prices plummet, it’s been the hardest hit area we know of in the Portland metro area during the real estate bubble burst. 

As a side note, if you’re looking for GREAT DEALS on a home in this market, it’s in Happy Valley. Also, when I say “sold a home”, I represented the buyer, so no, I didn’t fire sale someone’s home in case you were wondering :-)

Zillow doesn’t actively compare homes in an area, it averages not only the homes near X home in the current market but over time as well, in addition to that, a homeowner can edit their home’s information, such as adding square footage or an extra “bedroom” that doesn’t fit the legal standards to be called as such.  Zillow doesn’t take upgrades or “fixers” into consideration either, nor does it consider the current local market, only that local market and it’s history in terms of sales, hence when an area skyrockets or plummets, Zillow isn’t going to have a clue what an accurate value of a home is. I will restate that in most cases Zillow can be useful as a “ballpark” guesstimate tool, but for a true value of the property you need a Realtor (free to value it for you) or an appraisal (definetley, not free).

Again, refer to Zillow, but unless you are well familiar with the homes being compared and the true conditions of the sale, consider it entertainment purposes only.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about what the local tax assessor says about your home…well, that’s usualy an inaccurate view of your home’s value too, but usually in the ball park just like Zillow; the tax assessment for the example I showed above, shows an even higher value for that home than Zillow does.


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