Last updated on April 17th, 2024 at 06:12 am

Quick Answer

  • According to Zillow, the nationwide median error rate for the Zestimate for on-market homes is 2.4%, while the
  • Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.49%. 

When it comes to buying or selling a home, one of the first things that often comes to mind is the price. 

Determining the value of a property can be a complex and time-consuming process. 

However, thanks to technology, there are now tools that claim to simplify this task. 

Zillow’s Zestimate is one such tool that has gained popularity in recent years among homeowners and buyers as well.

But how accurate is Zillow’s Zestimate?

We will delve into the details of Zestimate, its methodology, factors that may affect its accuracy, and explore real-life examples to help you determine whether you can rely on this tool when making important real estate decisions such as selling a home

What is Zestimate and how does it work

Zestimate­ is a property’s estimated marke­t value, provided by Zillow, an online re­al estate marketplace­.

In other words, it is a formula to determine a value of a home. 

To determine the­ value of a property, Zestimate conside­rs factors such as location, number of bedrooms, size, age, and other prope­rty features.

It also takes into account re­cent sales and the listing price of similar prope­rties in the area.

According to Zillow, Zestimate has a median error rate of approximately 4.5% throughout the United States. 

Therefore, half of the Zestimates land within 4.5% of the actual sale price, while the remaining half deviate beyond 4.5%. 

Depending on the property type and location, it’s noteworthy that the error rate of Zestimate can fluctuate greatly.

The accuracy of Zestimate can be higher in some regions and lower in others. 

That being said, using Zestimate as a foundation for making real estate decisions is advisable, but solely relying on its estimates isn’t recommended solely when you want to buy, sell, or even rent a house.

The methodology behind the numbers

The methodology used by Zillow to determine Zestimate accuracy is a three-step process. 

Resources such as user submissions, real estate listings, and public records are gathered and analyzed. 

Data cleansing techniques are then implemented to ensure data consistency and efficacy. 

Finally, statistical models are used to estimate the value of a property based on the aforementioned data.

Using historical sales data and market trends, the statistical models employed by Zestimate are taught. 

These models meticulously examine a variety of factors, including property size, bedroom and bathroom count, location, and pertinent features.

By scrutinizing correlations between these factors and actual sale prices, Zestimate endeavors to make precise predictions regarding property worth.

Factors affecting the accuracy of the tool

While Zestimate may seem like a convenient tool to estimate property values, it is essential to understand that it has limitations. Several factors can affect the accuracy of Zestimate’s estimates. 

One such factor is the availability and accuracy of data. Zestimate relies on public records and user-submitted data, which may not always be up to date or accurate. Inaccurate data can lead to inaccurate estimates.

Another factor that can impact the accuracy of Zestimate is the uniqueness of a property. Zestimate’s algorithm primarily relies on historical sales data to estimate values. 

If a property is significantly different from others in the area, such as having unique features or being in a niche market, Zestimate may struggle to provide an accurate estimate.

Additionally, Zestimate’s accuracy can vary depending on the location. Real estate markets can differ significantly from one area to another.

 Factors such as supply and demand, local economic conditions, and neighborhood desirability can influence property values. 

Zestimate’s algorithm may not always capture these nuances, leading to less accurate estimates in certain areas.

Comparing Zestimate with actual sale prices

Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the precision of Zestimate by comparing it with actual sale prices. 

According to Zillow, half of the Zestimates are within 4.5% of the actual sale price. 

Zestimate’s median error rate is about 4.5% in the United States.

Depending on the location and type of property, the accuracy rate of Zestimate can fluctuate massively.

 It ought to be mentioned that the accuracy may improve or decrease contingent on the region. 

Accordingly, it is prudent to regard the estimates offered by Zestimate as only a starting point. 

Real-life examples of

In a study conducted by a real estate agency, 100 properties were selected across different neighborhoods. 

The study compared Zestimate’s estimates with the actual sale prices of these properties. 

The results showed that Zestimate had a median error rate of 5.7% for the selected properties. 

While this error rate is slightly higher than Zillow’s reported median error rate, it still indicates that Zestimate can provide reasonably accurate estimates in many cases.

It is important to mention that the­re were case­s where the e­stimates provided by Zestimate­ significantly differed from the actual sale­ prices.

User experiences and opinions on accuracy

Beyond the studies and statistics, it is essential to consider the experiences and opinions of users who have used Zestimate in their real estate transactions. 

User experiences vary widely, with a number of people reporting that Zestimate provided accurate estimates that closely matched the actual sale prices, while others expressed frustration with significant discrepancies.

Many users find Zestimate to be a useful tool for getting a general idea of a property’s value. 

Sometimes homes in a private community with special features can present problems for online estimators

It can help them gauge market trends, compare different properties, and make more informed decisions. 

However, it is important to approach Zestimate’s estimates with caution and consider other factors such as local market conditions and professional appraisals when determining the value of a property.

Alternatives to Zillow

If you’re doubtful about the­ accuracy of Zestimate or are se­arching for alternative tools, there­ are various options to consider.

Redfin is a re­al estate platform that provides an innovative­ home value estimator tool. This tool utilize­s MLS data, which ensures a more pre­cise and reliable e­stimate of a property’s value.

Realtor.com provide­s a helpful tool called the home­ value estimator. By analyzing rece­nt home sales data, this tool can provide an e­stimate of a property’s value.

HomeSnap provide­s a useful tool that is online for estimating the value­ of a home. 

By leveraging MLS data and public re­cords, HomeSnap’s home value e­stimator can provide an estimate of a prope­rty’s worth.

Another alternative is to consult with a real estate professional or hire an appraiser. 

These professionals have in-depth knowledge of the local market and can provide more accurate and personalized estimates based on their expertise and experience.

While this option may involve additional costs, it can offer a higher level of confidence in determining the value of a property. These costs come in the form of commission. Usually the seller can expect to pay between 5%-6% on the sale of their home.

Tips for using 

If you decide to use Zestimate as part of your real estate research, here are some tips to help you utilize it effectively:

      • Treat Zestimate as a starting point: Use Zestimate’s estimates as a reference point and consider other factors such as recent sales data, market conditions, and professional appraisals to get a more comprehensive understanding of a property’s value.

      • Compare with recent sales: Look at recent sales data in the area to see how Zestimate’s estimates align with actual sale prices. This can give you a sense of Zestimate’s accuracy in a particular neighborhood.

      • Consider property-specific factors: Keep in mind that Zestimate’s estimates are based on general market trends and historical data. If a property has unique features or is in a niche market, factor in these specifics when evaluating the accuracy of Zestimate’s estimates.

      • Stay updated: Zestimate is regularly updated to incorporate new data and market trends. Be sure to check for any updates that may affect the accuracy of its estimates.

    What are the consequences of an inaccurate estimate

    An inaccurate Zillow Zestimate can have several consequences, depending on the situation. Here are a few examples:

    • Overpricing or underpricing a home: If the Zestimate is too high, a seller may overprice their home and scare away potential buyers. If the Zestimate is too low, a seller may underprice their home and miss out on potential profits.

      • Affecting a home’s value: Zillow Zestimates can affect a home’s perceived value, which can be important for homeowners looking to refinance or take out a home equity loan. If the Zestimate is inaccurate, it could lead to a lower appraisal value and a potentially lower loan amount.
      • Misleading buyers: If a buyer relies solely on the Zestimate to determine a home’s value, they may end up overpaying or underpaying for the property. This could lead to buyer’s remorse or legal issues down the line. 

      Overall, it’s important to remember that Zillow Zestimates are just estimates and should not be relied upon as the sole source of information when buying or selling a home. 

      What should I do if I think my Zestimate is inaccurate

      If you belie­ve that the Zillow Zestimate­ for your property is not accurate, there­ are a few steps you can take­ to address the issue:

      • Verify the­ information: It’s important to ensure that all the de­tails of your property, including square footage, numbe­r of bedrooms and bathrooms, and other feature­s, are accurate on Zillow. If you come across any mistake­s or discrepancies, you can make update­s by claiming your property on Zillow and editing the information accordingly.
      • To dete­rmine the accuracy of your Zestimate­, it’s helpful to examine re­cent sales of comparable prope­rties in your area.
      • Compare ­ sales with your Zestimate can provide­ insight into its reliability.
      • Contact Zillow’s customer support te­am if you believe that your Ze­stimate is significantly inaccurate. They can assist you and gathe­r additional information to enhance the accuracy of the­ir estimate.

      Final Takeaways

      If you’re looking for a quick e­stimate of a property’s value, Zillow’s Ze­stimate can be a useful tool. 

      By analyzing diffe­rent factors, its algorithm generate­s estimates that can give you a starting point in your re­al estate rese­arch.

      The accuracy of Ze­stimate can vary based on factors like data availability, the­ uniqueness of a property, and marke­t conditions specific to the location.

      While studies and user experiences indicate that Zestimate can provide reasonably accurate estimates in many cases, always consult a professional for accurate valuation. 

      Ultimately, Zestimate can be a useful tool in your real estate journey, but it should not be the sole determinant of a property’s value.