Can I trust Zillow estimates?

Can I rely on some Internet company to figure out the value of my property in Fairfax?

Zillow is a billion-dollar Internet marketer that provides computerized estimates that purport to figure the sales value of each and every residence in the United States. Zillow tries to achieve this this feat by using a sophisticated algorithm which compares factors which alter home 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 search the Internet for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll find many complaints by angry property owners and skeptical real estate shoppers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Fairfax report that Zillow's valuations have a margin of error of approximately 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 value. If the margin of error is an unlikley 5% that means that a z-estimate is only within $25,000 of the asking price.

Yet Zillow still remains popular with some people. Property owners and home purchasers should understand that there is not a single community in Fairfax 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 reliance into a website can cause a great deal of confusion.

Talk to one of our agents today for a free comparative market analysis of your property's value. We promise that a computer won't set the sales value. Rather, your friendly neighborhood Nesbitt Realty real estate agent will account for the unique variables which make up your real estate's ideal price.

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7 Reasons Why Zillow Estimates Are Inaccurate

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