Can I rely on Zillow to figure out the market value of my property in Prince William County?
Zillow is a billion-dollar Internet marketer that provides computerized estimates which purport to calculate the sales value of each property in the United States. Zillow tries to achieve this this feat by using a fancy program that compares factors which affect 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 search the Internet for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll find countless complaints by angry homeowners and skeptical real estate purchasers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Prince William County say that Zillow's valuations 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 astounding 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. Home sellers and home purchasers should know that there is not a single community in Prince William County where either a bank or tax collector uses Zillow for tax assessment or appraisals. Our expert advice is to take "valuations" from any computer with a grain of salt. Putting too much stock into a computer logarithm can cause a great deal of disappointment.
Reach out to Nesbitt Realty 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 expert will measure the many variables which make up your real estate's value.
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