[POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

[POLL] How accurate are zillow price estimates for your home?

Poll ended at Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:45 pm

Within +/- 5%.
53
25%
Within +/- 10%.
76
36%
Within +/- 25%.
45
22%
Greater than +/- 25%.
29
14%
Zillow does not find my house.
3
1%
Other (please explain).
3
1%
 
Total votes : 209

[POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home?

Postby rr2 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:45 pm

In a couple of recent threads there has been some discussion whether zillow price estimates accurately reflect the fair market price of homes.

In your opinion, how accurate are zillow.com estimates of your home value?

http://www.zillow.com/

Since this is your opinion, you may choose whatever method that you think is appropriate to determine the fair market value.

Pick the closest option.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby chaz » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:47 pm

Close, about 10% off.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby whaleknives » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:58 pm

9% higher than the assessor's 2012 "estimated fair market value", which is due to be updated in April, and "reflects the approximate market value of your property as of January 1".
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Epsilon Delta » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:27 pm

I have not tried to sell my house so I don't know the value within +-25%, so I have no idea if Zillow is correct or not.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby FrugalInvestor » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:42 pm

I voted "other" since I've seen wild swings.

When the market was very hot circa 2006-7 the Zillow estimate was high by 25%+. Since the market has settled down it's within 10% one way or the other.

I keep pretty close tabs on comps in case I need to dispute the assessed value. So far I'm 2 for 2 on appeals. :happy
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby rr2 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:49 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:I have not tried to sell my house so I don't know the value within +-25%, so I have no idea if Zillow is correct or not.

Thanks for responding. This value is just a guess. For example, this could be the assessed value for tax purposes.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby 3CT_Paddler » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:50 pm

I think it depends a lot on the area. The more the price varies in an area, the worse the estimate seems to be... which I would expect. In my neighborhood, the price varies as much as 30-40% for what is basically the same house/property. Not sure why their algorithm does such a poor job, but I would think that if you have sales and square footage records for an area, and weighted based on recency, you could come up with some decent ballpark estimates.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby rr2 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:50 pm

FrugalInvestor wrote:I voted "other" since I've seen wild swings.

When the market was very hot circa 2006-7 the Zillow estimate was high by 25%+. Since the market has settled down it's within 10% one way or the other.

I keep pretty close tabs on comps in case I need to dispute the assessed value. So far I'm 2 for 2 on appeals. :happy

Just curious, is it within 10% now?
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Aptenodytes » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:03 pm

I put "within 25%" to play it safe. I bought my house 15 years ago and it is very hard to get an exact comparison, so I won't really know until I sell. The only relevant facts I have are two appraisals, one done this year and one done two years ago (refinances). Two years ago Zillow was 8% above the appraisal, and this year Zillow was 13% above the appraisal.

Appraisals themselves are not terribly accurate, especially in areas like mine where there is great heterogeneity in the houses -- the development was built in the mid 1950s and was very homogeneous then, but in the intervening decades people have made modifications that take them in very different, hard-to-compare directions.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Wabbit » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:06 pm

Just refinanced recently, and zillow is just about 5% off the appraisal. But I always just preferred to look at it for the "recently sold" houses, rather than the zillow estimate. Is anybody disputing the accuracy or completeness of the comps? Or just the price estimate?
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Bacchus01 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:11 pm

About 10% low I believe.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby rr2 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:22 pm

Wabbit wrote:Just refinanced recently, and zillow is just about 5% off the appraisal. But I always just preferred to look at it for the "recently sold" houses, rather than the zillow estimate. Is anybody disputing the accuracy or completeness of the comps? Or just the price estimate?

The two appraisers I have talked to in the last year have been dismissive of zillow. From the (admittedly) unscientific poll, thus far it looks like 70%+ lie within 10%. In my opinion this is quite good. I think that zillow's algorithm has been slowly getting better with time. In the future, I can see more dedicated automated appraisal services being used by mortgage lenders in order to cut costs.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby FrugalInvestor » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:29 pm

rr2 wrote:
FrugalInvestor wrote:I voted "other" since I've seen wild swings.

When the market was very hot circa 2006-7 the Zillow estimate was high by 25%+. Since the market has settled down it's within 10% one way or the other.

I keep pretty close tabs on comps in case I need to dispute the assessed value. So far I'm 2 for 2 on appeals. :happy

Just curious, is it within 10% now?


My best current estimate would be 10-15% low.
Last edited by FrugalInvestor on Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby mhc » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:30 pm

The zillow price could be exact for my house. It is definitely within 5%.

All the houses in my sub-division are fairly equal in value, and there have been several recent sales.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Peter Foley » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:50 pm

We sold and moved about 2 years ago so have fairly recent experience with a couple of properties. Both our houses were older, in nicer developed neighborhoods where comps are a bit difficult. Zillow was within about 10% high or low depending on when they posted their estimates. If one looked at the trend lines and ranges provided by Zillow those trend line averaged within 10% of both the sale price of the old house and the buy price of the new house.

A couple houses we looked at bounced up and down by 25% over the course of our 8 month search. My guess would be that it is probably a little less accurate in a developed neighborhood in a city where each property is unique. It is hard to assess the value of curb appeal, remodeling and updates to systems.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby spotty_dog » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:14 am

I had my house appraised about 12 months ago. Zillow's estimate is about half the appraised value. This is mostly because it's a unique property, and Zillow doesn't possess any details about the house, not beds nor baths nor square footage. You'd think that the previous list price would come into the algorithm though. *shrugs* I prefer for it to be lowball though. We live modestly and it would make me uncomfortable to think that acquaintances could Zillow our home and make assumptions about our means.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby stan1 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:22 am

The last time we had our house appraised (2010) it came in within 1% of the Zillow estimate. Might have been coincidence.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby red5 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:18 am

Zestimate is within $200.00 of the appraisal and purchase price last November (appraisal and purchase price the same in my case).
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby ProfessorX » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:18 am

My guess is that Zillow's estimate is better in suburban areas where houses are further apart geographically.
I live in a City, and home values based on geography can change very rapidly in a very short distance, say less than a quarter mile.

It is my impression that Zillow does not do a good job taking this into consideration in Cities, especially since the value dividing lines are very different in different areas, certainly they are also based upon school districts etc. It may be hard for an algorithm to find these.

On Zillow my home's z-estimate has swung both up and down by $40K in the last year. Also several high profile sales nearby me are just not recorded in Zillows database, and hence not in their z-estimate. (In one case the developer never had to list the properties on MLS because they sold so quickly, so Zillow never had an opportunity to grab them.) So from that perspective their algorithm is missing lots of crucial data as well.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Majormajor78 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:26 am

Last time we refinanced zillow came in about 20% light. Zillow's information wasn't complete or correct for my property. They had the lot size cut in half, and the square footage off by 8%. No listing of the deck or patio either. If their algorithm is good or not is almost irrevelant. As someone pointed out earlier, in newer homogeneous subdivisions Zillow may be pretty accurate but in older neighborhoods where the houses vary, Zillow just falls apart because it isn't able to discern accurate comparisons. Garbage in, garbage out.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby bottomfisher » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:04 am

In your opinion, how accurate are zillow.com estimates of your home value?

http://www.zillow.com/

Since this is your opinion, you may choose whatever method that you think is appropriate to determine the fair market value.


That was interesting. We received an estimate 2 years ago upon refinancing. Zillow's estimate is at least double what we would be able to sell our home for. They estimate it at $337 per square foot. If we put it on the market we probably reasonably start asking at $150 per square foot; but likely have to settle for $125 to $140 per sq ft if it were to sell in the current real estate environment in our area. Only really high end condos sell for > $300 per sq ft around here; I'm not sure how Zillow computes their estimates?
Last edited by bottomfisher on Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:08 am

20-25% off, I say this because it does not compare apples with apples in my neighborhood. A small home with no garage, no land and located on a heavily traveled road (double yellow) will sell for a hypothetical $350K, another home with a garage, larger home and larger yard on a quiet, desirable street will be appraised by zillow at the same price. And all the other homes with desirable qualities will be priced at the same $350K.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Default User BR » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:10 am

rr2 wrote:In a couple of recent threads there has been some discussion whether zillow price estimates accurately reflect the fair market price of homes.

How would I possibly know without selling it?


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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby clemrick » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:50 pm

Well, at least Zillow recognizes that my city exists. It didn't a couple years ago when I tried. When I entered my address for "Make Me Move" it identified a house a block east of me, so it still doesn't accurate info on my city.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby dm200 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:02 pm

Seems a bit high (5-10%), but we have had the house for 30+ years and have not (are not) considering selling.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Petunia » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:13 pm

The house next door to me sold several months ago. Zillow has the data, yet estimates the home value quite a bit lower than the actual selling price. I don't get it. :confused
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby happymob » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:27 pm

I'd say within +- 10%... we purchased 2.7 years ago in a growing (due to oil/gas) rural community with plenty of new construction. The Zillow price has never gone below our purchase price, has gone up as much as 7%, but mostly fluctuates between purchase price and +7% of purchase price. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

We do, incidentally, use this value in our annual net worth, but it is always a source of bemusement rather than something we can base decisions on.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby englishgirl » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:53 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:I think it depends a lot on the area. The more the price varies in an area, the worse the estimate seems to be... which I would expect. In my neighborhood, the price varies as much as 30-40% for what is basically the same house/property. Not sure why their algorithm does such a poor job, but I would think that if you have sales and square footage records for an area, and weighted based on recency, you could come up with some decent ballpark estimates.


+1. I also live in a neighborhood with widely varying house prices. Proximity to the water increases value, proximity to the train tracks or the airport decrease value. Also, most houses are now about 60 years old, so the condition of houses varies, and some have been torn down and replaced with fancier McMansion-type places.

Zillow seems to be guesswork. But at least it's a start - I don't think anyone really has a clue as to values until someone has gone in the house and really assessed the condition.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Mudpuppy » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:24 pm

Wabbit wrote:Just refinanced recently, and zillow is just about 5% off the appraisal. But I always just preferred to look at it for the "recently sold" houses, rather than the zillow estimate. Is anybody disputing the accuracy or completeness of the comps? Or just the price estimate?

The recently sold list is fine, but keep in mind it's just a compilation of public record of sale prices for given addresses and doesn't let you know details like if it was a short sale, foreclosure, regular sale and so forth. It also doesn't tell you if the house was purchased as a residence or an investment property. In some cases, it doesn't even have complete information about the property, such as the precise number of bathrooms ("2" is often actually 1.75 in my neighborhood) or the lot size.

As long as one is aware of the nature of the data (e.g. what it does and does not tell you), Zillow is a good source for pulling the basic sale information. And I find the Zillow map interface to be very user-friendly in this regards.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby OAG » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:36 pm

Zillow is within close but I do not put much faith in it since it can't seem to place the building too close to where it actually is.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Skinut » Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:12 pm

Within 5%.

I had my house appraised within the last 6 months for a refi, the Zillow estimate is within 2% of the appraised value, pretty good...
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby kenschmidt » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:32 pm

FrugalInvestor wrote:I voted "other" since I've seen wild swings.

When the market was very hot circa 2006-7 the Zillow estimate was high by 25%+. Since the market has settled down it's within 10% one way or the other.

I keep pretty close tabs on comps in case I need to dispute the assessed value. So far I'm 2 for 2 on appeals. :happy


I will second this. Zillow has had my house way overvalued (when the market was hot) and way undervalued when the market was crashing (circa 2009). Interestingly enough, when I just went to Zillow now, all the wild fluctuations that I saw in the past have disappeared in the historical chart of the value. Like they ran it through some smoothing algorithm after the fact.

I voted > 25%. I like the concept, but the execution hasn't been consistent from my view.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby DaleMaley » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:36 pm

I pretty much dismiss the use of Zillow in small towns like mine, less than 5,000 people. There are so few sales to compare to, it is difficult to estimate on so little data.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby sls239 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:44 pm

In my experience, if the homes are more than 7 years old or so, the estimates can be significantly off, often depending on how much updating has been done to the individual home.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby steadyeddy » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:02 pm

In my area, zillow is fairly accurate at pricing newer construction. But, in the city and inner ring suburbs, renovations make zillow nearly worthless.

A hundred year old house could have had energy efficient improvements made, plumbing, electrical, appliances, and cabinetry updated. Essentially everything new but the old woods floors and crown molding. A second home might be one block away but literally falling apart with a century's worth of deferred maintenance. If these two homes have similar layouts and square footage zillow will average their sales prices.
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Zillow has no idea of improvements inside

Postby Marmot » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:36 pm

of the house. It is just a view at 40,000 feet in my opinion. I said it was 20% off.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby woof755 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:42 pm

Garbage in, garbage out. The comps are inappropriate, causing wild swings in the estimate. Right now, it's probably over-estimating, so I feel happy.

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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Cherokee8215 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:56 pm

The "zestimate" has always been all over the spectrum for my house (older neighborhood).

It's currently being skewed too low since all of the comps recently have been foreclosures that were completely trashed inside, or, even if not trashed, needed serious modernizing. The long-term homeowners who pay their mortgages and maintain/keep their homes updated seem to be staying put right now.

During the bubble, it was skewed too high since most of the then-recent comps were homes of long-time residents who did total over-the-top renovations and then cashed out to some sucker during a bidding war. The average well-kept home wasn't fetching those "zestimates."
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby pennstater2005 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:03 pm

My house was appraised about a 1 and a half years ago. Zillow is almost spot on with their estimate to the most recent appraisal.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby newbeginning » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:19 pm

Zillow was 0.7% high (on appraisal) and 10% high on what I paid late last summer when I bought my house. Zillow is currently showing 2.7% above my 7 month old appraisal.

We never really had a bubble here so we only suffered a -5.01% drop from peak to bottom (assuming its bottomed). I suspect the more volatile markets might give Zillow a harder time.

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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Noobvestor » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:24 pm

A unit down the hall from mine (condo) sold recently for 35% more than I paid for mine (yay!). As it is the same size and plan, this also tells me that Zillow's estimate (which is 40% higher than my purchase price, or: a few percent higher than that identical unit sold for) is within 5%.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby morphos » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:35 pm

Image
This is my actual house. Kinda hard to know... :? Exponential growth seems somewhat unlikely, and I figured the chart would explain more than I could. Enjoy.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Dibbels81 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:12 am

Houses in my Las Vegas neighborhood are selling about 25% above what Zillow says they're worth.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby CMartel2 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:57 am

Petunia wrote:The house next door to me sold several months ago. Zillow has the data, yet estimates the home value quite a bit lower than the actual selling price. I don't get it. :confused


A similar experience. If you look at Zillow and houses sold on our street, it's as if the home value completely ignored the selling price. They have our home undervalued by 33%, our neighbor's home undervauled by 40%, and further up the street, another neighbor's home undervalued by 30%. I should mention that those are all values the homes actually sold for. Something is amiss in their formula. Either that, or you can sell homes in my area for obscene profits. :P
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby Phineas J. Whoopee » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:59 pm

On the one hand, like previous posters I don't know the value because I haven't tried to sell.

On the other, according to Zillow's own historical data, over the past 12 months the ratio between the highest estimate (not the high end in Zillow's range, but their main number) and lowest is approximately 4.5:1.

The ratio over the past three months is 2.7:1.

Over the past one month it's dropped 23%, but still is higher than three months ago.

I voted more than 25% inaccurate.

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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby FRANK2009 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:43 pm

At one time Zilow valued my home at 1.1 million;totally off. Now it values my home at a drastically lower price. I have no plans to sell so I'm OK with it, for now.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby nisiprius » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:34 pm

How would I know? I haven't tried to sell it. What would I compare it with?
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby azanon » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:07 pm

Definitely under because Zillow has no idea how much I've upgraded my interior (not to be confused with simply maintaining). Probably the average American who can't manage their money and buys more house than they can afford probably isn't even maintaining their house properly, much less upgrading it.
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby madbrain » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:57 pm

It seems to depends on the time of the day, the phases of the moon, and the age of the captain.

Image

Image

The nice thing about the price curve is that it doesn't just adjust the current value, it also constantly re-figures out the previous values.
It's always interesting to look at the "new" old data.

The algorithms have now given up on trying to figure out a value for my house before 2009, even though it was built in 1966, and added on and completely remodeled by the previous owners in the late 1990s

I love the wide range of 3:1 on the price estimate, and 5.5:1 on the rent estimate.
madbrain
 
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Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

Postby slowandsteadyone » Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:35 am

Personally I think Zillow is not accurate. I think its primary purpose at this point is to be used by home buyers to beat up home sellers.

The house we bought 2.5 years ago we plan on staying in forever so the lower the perceived value, the happier I will be. Zillow zestimates our house to be worth $67,000 less than we paid for it.
slowandsteadyone
 
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