Can I depend on Zillow to calculate the sales price of my home in Falls Church?
Zillow is a billion-dollar website that "gives" automated estimates that claim to figure the market value of every residence in the United States. Zillow tries to reach this goal this feat by using a sophisticated algorithm that compares factors which alter real estate values, but here's a story I have heard from real estate 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 web for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll find many posts by angry homeowners and skeptical home purchasers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Falls Church 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 market value. 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 (for now) remains popular with some real estate shoppers. Real estate sellers and real estate buyers should understand that there is not a single neighborhood in Falls Church where either a bank or tax collector uses Zillow for tax assessment or appraisals. Our expert advice is to take "valuations" from any online site with a grain of salt. Putting too much reliance into a computer can cause a lot of disappointment.
Contact one of our local experts today for a free comparative market analysis of your property's value. We promise that a website won't set the market value. Rather, your friendly neighborhood Nesbitt Realty Realtor will account for the complicated variables which make up your property's ideal price.
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