Can I trust a computer to calculate the value of my property in Fairfax County?
Zillow is a popular website that "gives" "z-estimates" which claim to figure the sales value of each home in the United States. Zillow tries to reach this goal this task by using a fancy algorithm which compares factors which affect property 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 research the Internet for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll discover many testimonials by angry property owners and leery real estate purchasers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Fairfax County 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 (for now) remains popular with some buyers and sellers. Real estate sellers and property buyers should understand that there is not a single community in Fairfax County where either a mortgage lender or tax collector uses Internet for tax assessment or appraisals. Our expert advice is to take estimates from any website with a grain of salt. Putting too much reliance into a website can cause a great deal of disappointment.
Contact Nesbitt Realty today for a free comparative market analysis of your property's market value. We promise that a computer won't set the market value. Instead, your friendly neighborhood Nesbitt Realty real estate agent will take into account the many variables which make up your real estate's ideal price.
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