Can I rely on some Internet company to calculate the value of my property in Prince William County?
Zillow is a billion-dollar website that "gives" automated estimates that claim to calculate the ideal price of every property in the United States. Zillow tries to achieve this this feat by using a sophisticated program that crossreferences factors which alter 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 Google the web for the phrase "Can I trust Zillow?" or "Can I trust Z-Estimates" you'll discover many posts by angry property owners and leery home purchasers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Prince William County claim 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 market 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 still remains popular with some real estate shoppers. Real estate sellers and home shoppers 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 online site at arm’s length. Putting too much trust into a computer logarithm can cause a great deal of irration.
Email 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 value. Rather, your friendly neighborhood Nesbitt Realty real estate agent will take into account the unique variables which make up your property's market value.
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