Can I trust Zillow estimates?

Can I depend on some Internet company to appraise the market value of my home in Rockingham County?

Zillow is a popular website that provides automated estimates that purport to calculate the sales value of each home in the United States. Zillow tries to accomplish this feat by using a sophisticated program that compares factors which impact home values, but here's a story I have heard from home 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 many posts by upset homeowners and skeptical property buyers who have discovered the hard way just out inaccurate Zillow's pricing can be. Many people in Rockingham 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 market value. If the margin of error is an impressive 5% that means that a z-estimate is only within $25,000 of the asking price.

Yet Zillow still remains popular with some people. Property owners and property shoppers should understand that there is not a single neighborhood in Rockingham County where either a mortgage lender 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 trust into a website can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety.

Contact Nesbitt Realty today for a free comparative market analysis of your property's worth. We promise that a website won't set the market value. Instead, your friendly neighborhood Nesbitt Realty expert will measure the many variables which make up your property's value.

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7 Reasons Why Zillow Estimates Are Inaccurate

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