Whether you are buying, selling, or renting a home, you have probably spent at least a little bit of time on Zillow. There are numerous real estate apps and websites out there that collect and display helpful data about a potential purchase or sale.
Is the Zestimate Right for My House? Understanding Your Real Estate Tools
Need info about the school system? That’s included. Want to know how walkable an area is? This information is also on the home’s profile. What should you pay, sell, or rent a house for? That’s where the Zestimate comes in.
Is a Zestimate Accurate?
Zillow uses an algorithm to compute the estimated purchase or rental price, called the Zestimate, of a home. This algorithm considers recent comparable home sales, property records, and tax data. It can also include some user-inputted data as well.
While this a good place to start, you should do a bit of your own research to verify the Zestimate number. In some areas, this number is very accurate while in others it can be off quite a bit. If there is not a lot of data available, the Zestimate can be skewed one way or another.
Pricing Your Home
One of the best ways to fairly price your home (or decide what to offer on a for-sale home) is to talk to a local real estate agent who knows your area. They are up-to-date on the local housing market and may have even completed a sale or two recently. They know what features buyers in your area want and which neighborhoods are highly desirable. They can also get an idea of how much competition there is for a particular house, which may impact your offer.
Overall, the Zestimate can give you a ballpark number but you shouldn’t take it as truth without doing some of your own fact-checking first. Whether you dig through the data yourself or talk to a real estate agent to get their take, verifying the Zestimate can save you time and money in the long run.