Can I trust Zillow estimates?

Can I trust some Internet company to appraise the market value of my home in Arlington?

Zillow is a billion-dollar website that "gives" automated estimates which purport to figure the ideal price of every home in the United States. Zillow tries to accomplish this feat by using a fancy program that compares factors which alter real estate values, but here's a typical story I have heard from home sellers in Northern Virginia:

Is Zillow accurate?
Many consumers have serious doubts about the accuracy of Zillow home value estimates.

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 Google the Internet for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll discover many posts by upset homeowners and skeptical home purchasers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Arlington say that Zillow's valuations have a margin of error of around 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 ideal price. If the margin of error is an improbable 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. Property owners and property shoppers should understand that there is not a single community in Arlington where either a bank or tax collector uses Zillow for tax assessment or appraisals. Our professional advice is to take "valuations" from any online site with a grain of salt. Putting too much trust into a computer can cause a lot of confusion.

Connect 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 Realtor will take into account the unique variables which make up your home's value.

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7 Reasons Why Zillow Estimates Are Inaccurate

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