That was the headline in the Biz section of Sunday’s Indy Star. The article does a nice job of detailing how Zillow, the country’s largest real estate website, provides a lot of nonsense when it comes to home values. It features what it calls a “Zestimate” which is an estimated market value for every property posted for sale on its’ site. More often than not, these Zestimates are pretty far removed from reality. I’ll give them credit that once in awhile they’re spot on. (Of course even a broken clock is right on time twice a day.)
Zillow has developed a sophisticated formula for generating these numbers. But, sadly, what Zillow cannot do from its’ ivory tower offices in Seattle is look inside a house. Yes, they know how many bedrooms and bathrooms a house has, and how many square feet. Even its’ age. But they do not know whether those rooms are on the main level or in the basement, whether the floor plan is open or all boxed up, whether the carpet is new or stained beyond cleaning, nor whether the appliances are stainless steel or avocado green!
Zestimates are so far off in so many cases that I do not pay them any heed. I don’t even look at them. They’re more of a problem generator than a problem solver. Zillow would do everyone a favor if they’d remove the Zestimates from their website. Short of that, buyers and sellers should turn a blind eye to this feature of an otherwise useful website.
Whether you’re buying or selling, and want to have a better idea of what a home’s value is, there’s an EZ way— give me an address and I’ll do the actual work needed to generate a more reliable market value. To catch other helpful blog posts, simply go to www.indyschoicerealestate.com. And please keep in mind… “I work harder to make good things happen!” -Bob