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Is Your Zillow Estimate (Zestimate) Really Worth It?

Zillow and Trulia are two of the largest websites when it comes to shopping and comparing home prices within your local area.    Twenty years ago, most of who were shopping for a home typically contacted a real estate agent first.   Once we gave the agent all of our new home wish list, they would compile a ‘get in the car’ tour where you were whisked away to see 20 or 30 homes before you narrowed it down to just a just a few.   Then, after comparing prices and your options, you would make an offer on the property that best suited your family.   Now companies like Zillow and Trulia allow you to turn this funnel completely upside down.  Do the values shown on these websites really matter?

What is a Zestimate®?
(source: www.zillow.com)

The Zestimate® (pronounced ZEST-ti-met, rhymes with estimate) home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. The Zestimate® is calculated from public and user submitted data; your real estate agent or appraiser physically inspects the home and takes special features, location, and market conditions into account.  They encourage buyers, sellers, and homeowners to supplement Zillow’s information by doing other research such as:

  • Getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent
  • Getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser
  • Visiting the house (whenever possible)

How can a Zestimate® help you? (just a short list)

  • It can give you a ballpark range of what’s on the market at what prices and what has recently sold in your area.
  • It can give you history of sale prices.
  • It allows you to tell the public what changes, modifications, or improvements you made to your home?
  • You can now see rents in the area if you wanted to rent your home.
  • Pictures can certainly help you as they are the initial sorter of buyers.

When does a Zestimate® not matter?

  • It is not an appraisal of your home.
  • It generally will not affect the mortgage company- even for changing PMI.
  • Foreclosures are taken out of the Zestimate algorithm.
  • It shouldn’t be an indicator to buy a home or sell a home.

Last week, I was able to interview Rhonda Duffy, Owner of Duffy Realty (www.duffyrealtyofatlanta.com) who is the #1 agent in Georgia and Josh Moffitt, President of Silverton Mortgage Specialists (www.silvertonmortgage.com) about whether or not your Zestimate® really matters?   Check it out on our recent Spreecast http://bit.ly/1jLv0iz and learn the tips and tricks that the experts know to get the most out of your property and getting a great deal on your mortgage.

Written by:
Ted Jenkin

Request a FREE consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net

About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Hey!

My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

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3 Comments

  • Avatar
    Jon
    February 7, 2014

    We love Zillow. One of the things that is a great feature is that it allows you to see what a home should rent for. My wife and I haven’t ever been home owners but we have used zillow to figure out what a fair rental price for a property is. That is powerful information for a potential renter.

  • Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves
    February 10, 2014

    It is a really cool piece of software and has definitely improved its capabilities for renters.

  • Avatar
    Jon
    February 10, 2014

    Absolutely. It saved us from a really bad renters deal when my wife and I were looking for our first place to live as a married couple.

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