Can I depend on a computer to appraise the sales price of my property in Northern Virginia?
Zillow is a popular Internet marketer that provides "z-estimates" that claim to figure the value of every residence in the United States. Zillow tries to reach this goal this feat by using a complicated program which compares factors which impact real estate values, but here's a story I have heard from property sellers in Northern Virginia:
Our home was recently appraised for 650K. Zillow estimates the value at 521K. The estimate makes us one of the lowest priced homes in the subdivision. We have all upgrades in our home and it is the largest of the homes that were originally built in this subdivision. It was appraised at 750K before 2009. Our home has a basement. Neighbors do not have basement on one side and you appraised higher. Really? -- James E. - Fort Hunt
If you search the web for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll find many testimonials by angry property owners and leery home buyers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Northern Virginia say that Zillow's valuations have a margin of error of about 20%. Even if we assume the margin of error is only 10%, in Northern Virginia that means a "z-estimate" is only within $50,000 of the actual sales value. If the margin of error is an impressive 5% that means that a z-estimate is only within $25,000 of the asking price.
Yet Zillow still remains popular with some buyers and sellers. Real estate sellers and property shoppers should understand that there is not a single neighborhood in Northern Virginia where either a bank or tax collector uses Zillow for tax assessment or appraisals. Our professional advice is to take estimates from any online site with a grain of salt. Putting too much trust into a computer can cause a great deal of irration.
Get in touch with one of our agents today for a free comparative market analysis of your property's market value. We promise that a computer won't set the market value. Rather, your friendly neighborhood Nesbitt Realty expert will account for the many variables which make up your property's market value.
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