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Zillow Accuracy Revealed

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A recent Wall Street Journal article took a look at the accuracy of Zillow home real estate value estimates and they found that Zillow was either accurate to within 7.8% with reality. The WSJ took 1,000 recent sales and compared the sale price with Zillow’s estimate (which didn’t reflect the sale) and found that it was within 7.8% accurate, evenly split on the high and low side. However, the average doesn’t tell the full story, what’s the standard deviation? Well, on 110 of the 1000, it was off by more than 25% and of the 110, 23 were off by more than 50%. Zillow’s nice and, as I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s only as good as the information it has – often times it doesn’t have the full picture.

The example in the article was 7600 sq. ft. four bedroom home that Zillow estimated to be worth $661,756 but was recently sold for $2.7M. Why the huge disparity? It’s in an exclusive gated community, something Zillow wasn’t aware of.

So, what’s the verdict on Zillow? Still a fun little tool that really doesn’t bring much to the table. Can you use it to get an idea of the value of a home? Sure, but I wouldn’t bet any money on it.

{ 38 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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38 Responses to “Zillow Accuracy Revealed”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Zillow is a scam – just another Internet game lacking true accountability – and no opt out for homeowners who must deal with the absurdity of off the wall zestimates

  2. Lisa says:

    I find it interesting that Zillow’s Zestimate of our home is somewhere in the neighborhood of $17-20 grand less than that of our next door neighbor’s home, even though ours is significantly larger, larger lot, etc. Our county uses drive-by assessments which are rarely accurate. That’s a benefit to us when it comes to the taxes we pay, so I’ve never complained. What’s seems fishy to me is that every time I’ve checked a Zeztimate on a home in our area that’s for sale, the estimate is always the same as the asking price on the house. I’ll always rely on my realtor when I need accurate information. Zillow plays too loose with the facts and couldn’t possibly know the details of the real estate market in every community.

  3. John says:

    I find it hard to believe that Zillow has my house listed at $6000 less than my neighbors. Our homes were built by the same builder at exactly the same time (in 2006) with the same upgrades. The only differance in the two homes is the lot size. My lot is bigger. Zillow is way off.

  4. Caro says:

    Zillow had my house estimated at approx. $1,400,000 last month, which was about the same as their est. of neighboring properties, but lower than recent sales. Today they sent email saying my house has “increased” by $117,000, but shows a new estimate that is almost $500,000 less than last month’s. Their geography is a bit off, too — none of the comparable sales they listed were close, and one is even in a different town. Glad we’re not trying to sell just now — the discrepancy between Zillow’s new estimate and actual prices here could scare off potential buyers.

  5. Scott says:

    Zillow is way off. I have a condo I bought 10 years ago, there are 16 inthe complex. At the time 6 were being sold for 83k. They are all the same. Now zillow says a couple of the are worth 44k, one is worth 50k 3 or worth 70k, another 96k and another 104k?? WTH?! One is on the market for 44k and can not sell, that is the value of all 16, why the difference?

  6. Ann says:

    Zillow – what a joke! Zillow has completely removed our house from our street and gives us constant updates on a house across the lake that happens to be on “our street name circle” instead of “our street name drive”. Hey zillow – still on the tax rolls and still here! We’ve requested a review by Zillow (no response from Zillow). We’ve suggested Zillow update their maps (no response). Zillow also lists a building on our property as belonging to the neighbor (no one else does), so Zillow…get lost;)

  7. Kay Jean Hardin says:

    The best way to figure out market value is to research SOLD homes within 90 to 120 days and within 3 miles of your home’s location. You can make adjustments for improvements, or needed repairs. Zillow is a good indicator of what is going on in the market. They do not pretend to be real estate professionals and they clearly indicate what they have on file for an individual home. I appreciate having a place to go and look up market trends, but I never take one source as the end result. The bottom line is still location and only you and a real estate person can figure out what your house’s marketability is. I also look at how many days a house takes to sell. Over 90 suggests the house is over priced or has other contributing factors that make it a hard sell.

  8. j nelson says:

    I live in a group of identical custom patio homes in Houston, TX. I noticed that for some reason my house was on Zillow for 40K less than my neighbor with a smaller house than is in bad shape. I send an Email to Zillow asked them to correct the discrepancy. Zillow proceded to reduce the value of my house by another 60K instead of making it at least equal to the others in the cluster of homes. Now my house is listed on Zillow as being $110,000 less than my neighbor with a house 400 ft2 smaller. The zillow price is now $30,000 less than the Harris County appraisal district price. I have sent them 10 emails trying to get them to correct this. They never answer the Emails. If any of you believe any of the house values on Zillow you are retarded.

  9. Mickie says:

    I am a Mortgage Loan Officer and am realy annoyed when a borrower comes to me and says I want to refinance my home, the value is $x.00 per Zillow… I instantly tell them to put the crackpipe away and get serious, it’s a total farce… my house was 6 years old and Zillow showed it as a vacant lot… I sent the value to them, a copy of the full appraisal, they changed my value to reflect the appraisal but the details of my home were seriously incorrect. a month later, my home was across the street listed as lake front property and increased by $1M. All this when our local real estate market was on a 35%+ decline each month… the local BBB has tried to get them to be more accurate, but doesnt’ have the funds Zillow is demanding to correct its inaccuracies.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Certain realtors hate Zillow because it makes them accountable ….

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