Can I trust Zillow estimates?

Can I depend on Zillow to appraise the value of my real estate in Prince William County?

Zillow is a billion-dollar website that "gives" "z-estimates" which claim to calculate the sales value of each home in the United States. Zillow tries to achieve this this feat by using a complicated program that compares factors which alter real estate values, but here's a typical story I have heard from property 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 research the Internet for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll find countless complaints by angry homeowners and leery property buyers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Prince William County report that Zillow's estimates 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 sales 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 people. Property owners and real estate buyers should know that there is not a single neighborhood in Prince William County where either a bank or tax collector uses Internet for tax assessment or appraisals. Our professional advice is to take estimates from any website with a grain of salt. Putting too much reliance into a computer can cause a great deal of unnecessary anxiety.

Talk to one of our local experts today for a free comparative market analysis of your property's market value. We promise that a computer won't set the value. Rather, your friendly neighborhood Nesbitt Realty real estate agent will measure the complicated variables which make up your home's value.

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7 Reasons Why Zillow Estimates Are Inaccurate

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