Zestimates – Just How Accurate Are They?

Zillow is the most popular online real estate information site, with over 70 million unique visitors in a single month. Along with active listings of properties for sale, it also provides information on houses that are not on the market. You can enter the address or general location in a database of millions of homes and likely pull up key information — square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms and baths, photos, taxes — plus a Zestimate.

Anyone involved in real estate has heard, too many times, “but Zillow says . . .” The phrase is the bane of most real estate agents existence, and with good reason.

By their own admission, Zillow says they are not always on the mark – there are just too many other factors that enter into a home’s value. The condition of each home, of course but especially in metropolitan areas of California, being on one side of the street or the other can have a dramatic difference in a property’s value. Zillow also doesn’t take into consideration the proximity to other buildings; schools, a liquor store, transportation, etc. Even a small geographic distance, less than a half mile, can made a difference.

Shortsales, foreclosures, a distressed sale such as the result of a divorce or other catastrophic event; none of these are taken into consideration in the Estimates. Following is a table that Zillow publishes showing their accuracy, or lack thereof.

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