Zillow Home Value Estimates – How Accurate are They?

Rick Sheppard
Published on April 14, 2017

Zillow Home Value Estimates – How Accurate are They?

Many times when I’m meeting with a homeowner who is considering selling their home the subject of Zillow home value estimates is brought up.   Zillow home value estimates are just a starting point and are based on a proprietary formula, not a field appraisal.  Zillow recommends a buyer or seller do their own research by requesting a (CMA) comparative market analysis from an experienced full-time real estate agent and/or an appraisal from a professional appraiser.  Most real estate agents offer a complimentary CMA – an appraisal can cost between $300 – $500 and the valuations can vary.  In my experience, many of the Zillow home value estimates are higher than the current market value.  Pricing a home accurately when selling a home is a critical aspect of the selling process.

Zillow home value estimates do not include property renovation updates that have not been reported to the local assessor’s office.  And many such updates are unreported.

How accurate are Zillow Home Value Estimates?

Zillow recently released an accuracy results report for the last quarter of 2016. Here are the results for the Montgomery County real estate market:

  • 51.2% of zestimates are within 5% of the final sales price
  • 74.5% of zestimates are within 10% of the final price
  • 88.5% of zestimates are within 20% of the final sales price

In Montgomery County 2,584 homes sold in the last quarter of 2016. Zillow home value estimates for Chester County were comparable to Montgomery County.   The total number of homes sold in Chester County during the last quarter of 2016 was 1682 homes.

Ok, so let’s do the math.  In Montgomery County the median sale price of a home in for the 4th quarter of 2016 was $270,000.  Zillow was off by $13,500 (5%) on 1323 homes, $27,000 (10%) on approximately 1925 homes and $54,000 (20%) on 2287 homes.  Chester County numbers are very similar to those of Montgomery County.  If you’d like details feel free to contact me.

I think we can all agree that Zillow home value estimates in the Montgomery and Chester County real estate markets are a guide only and should not be used as a true valuation of your home.   Start your home valuation by contacting an experienced full-time real estate agent – an agent who has sold hundreds of homes in the area with numerous online client reviews.  And a good place to view these reviews is on Zillow.com.  They verify every review by confirming the sale of the home and the real estate agents who represented the buyers and/or the sellers. Should you have questions, would like a CMA or would just like an informal meeting to discuss your options, please call/text/email me – I’m always happy to help!   Rick Sheppard, RE/MAX Achievers, Inc. Collegeville PA,  (610)864-9872.

Zillow Home Value Estimates – How Accurate are They?
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