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Is a Zestimate an Accurate Measure of Your Home’s Value

With today’s technology and online resources, most buyers begin their search for a home on the internet. Even those that are just curious as to what is on the market, or what their current home value is, go to their computers for information.

No doubt you have heard about Zillow.The Seattle-based company has done an amazing job of marketing. Zillow has become a household name to many of us. The name “Zillow” primarily came from the thought of zillions of data points the company pulls together to come up with home values (Zestimates), but Zillow also notes that a home is more than just data; it’s a place to lay one’s head, hence the word pillow.

The Zillow Zestimate is probably the most popular Automated Valuation Mode, or “AVM” for short, that most people are familiar with. An AVM is a tool that uses a mathematical algorithm (system of steps) to estimate a property’s value based on a variety of public information such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, past sales, tax records and taxed assessed values of nearby properties.

It is important to remember when using such online resources, that this data alone is not the most accurate way to measure value. These data driven models do not take into consideration important features that are specific to each property, especially interior condition and upgrades. Also, while location is often separated in an AVM by zip code, and can be a critical factor in value, location to us, as Realtors, may be a neighborhood, a street or even a certain side of the street.

As real estate professionals, we use our experience and expertise to interpret the most recent data on closed, pending and active properties, as well as inventory levels, average days on market, and other relevant market trends. In addition, we must take into consideration the condition, upgrades that have been done, and any other special features of a specific property, to come up with the best estimate of the property’s value in an ever-changing market.

While these online sites are wonderful resources, if you are curious as to the value of your own home, or any other property, we invite you to give us a call. We can explain your options for selling your home or help you prepare for buying a home.

~Doug and Sharon