I have a friend who loves Zillow. He checks it regularly because it helps him feel like he is staying up on market trends in the neighborhood. Based on the following comparison between appraisals I completed recently and Zillow value estimates, what advice might you give to my friend? The parenthesis below indicate the percentage by which Zillow differed from my appraisal.
- Lincoln home: Appraisal: $255,000; Zillow: $262,000 (+2.7%)?
- Sacramento condo: Appraisal: $105,000; Zillow: $159,900 (+52.3%)
- Rancho Cordova condo: Appraisal: $40,000; Zillow: $48,100 (+20%)
- Elk Grove home: Appraisal: $215,000; Zillow $180,000 (-16.3%)
- Rancho Cordova home: Appraisal: $143,000; Zillow: $161,600 (+13.0%)
- Roseville home: Appraisal: $285,000; Zillow: $278,000 (-2.4%)
- Curtis Park home: Appraisal: $550,000; Zillow: $705,400 (+28.3%)
- Citrus Heights home: Appraisal: $135,000; Zillow: $151,800 (+12.4%)
- Sacramento home: Appraisal: $101,000; Zillow: $105,000 (+3.9%)
- Carmichael home: Appraisal: $280,000; Zillow: $322,000 (+15.0%)
My conclusion? It’s really hit and miss with Zillow. I wouldn’t recommend relying upon Zillow for any concrete decisions, but it is still a useful tool. Zillow is often a good place to start for neighborhood information, historical graphs and to get a general idea of what other houses have sold for recently. I would just be very cautious to give strong weight to Zillow’s value conclusion.
What do you use Zillow for? What advice would you give to someone about relying upon Zillow estimates?