Can I depend on a computer to appraise the value of my home in Fairfax County?
Zillow is a billion-dollar Internet marketer that "gives" computerized estimates which purport to calculate the sales value of each and every home in the United States. Zillow tries to accomplish this task by using a fancy algorithm which crossreferences factors which alter home values, but here's a typical story I have heard from home 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 Google the Internet for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll find countless complaints by upset property owners and leery real estate shoppers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Fairfax County claim that Zillow's estimates 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 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 real estate shoppers. Real estate sellers and home buyers should know that there is not a single neighborhood 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 trust into a computer can cause a great deal of disappointment.
Phone Nesbitt Realty today for a free comparative market analysis of your property's worth. We promise that a computer won't set the market value. Rather, your friendly neighborhood Nesbitt Realty real estate agent will take into account the complicated variables which make up your real estate's sales value.
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