A lot of people have been talking to me about Zillow and their estimates. Are they accurate and should you depend on them? The short answer is no, but here’s why.

Zillow freely admits themselves that their Zestimate feature is merely a starting point for home value and not an appraisal. In Cuyahoga County, for example, Zestimates are off by an average of 5.5%. If you have a $200,000 loan, you could be overpricing or underpricing your home by $11,000.

“Zillow doesn’t know the difference between the two.”

Why are their numbers so off? For starters, the data they use is unclear. They’re partly dependent on public data, but we don’t know what houses they are taking into account to come up with their estimates. Zillow doesn’t really know where to draw neighborhood boundaries. They could be pulling in really bad data, especially in areas like Ohio City and Tremont where there are houses of all size and type right next to each other. Really bad estimates can also happen in a place like Westlake where there are homes built in the 2010s and homes built in the 1980s right across the street from one another.

Another thing Zillow doesn’t know is what you’ve done to improve your home. If you upgrade your kitchen in a major way with beautiful finishes, it could bring a ton of value to your home in one area, but could be worth a lot less in another area. Zillow doesn’t know the difference between the two.

For these reasons, you shouldn’t rely on Zillow to get your home’s value. If you’re really interested in your home’s value, give an appraiser a call or give me a call or send me an email today for a free market analysis.

If you have any other questions for me in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.