The three following web sites provide consumers with estimates of a home’s value. They are fun to use, but their estimates can be very misleading. Even Zillow recommends their estimates as a starting point, not the final word on a house’s value. See the article on Zillow accuracy and the user comments below.
Nothing can substitute for an informed Realtor's Comparative Market Analysis. Full-time Realtors have seen the properties being compared and can make judgments based on the land and house details of the compared properties that neither the computerized estimates nor appraisers can.
The following are comments from Zillow users, but they apply to all of these services. The source for these comments is Alexa, an Amazon.com company.
"Not even close! Tried my house, my parents house, my friends house, my brothers condo.... the values that zillow suggested were an absolute joke. When it comes to the market value of real estate, nothing beats knowing the details of the subject property and the comparable properties."
"A Zoke. This site is very over hyped. It claimed a house I sold last year for $195K was worth over $300K; not even close."
"There are so many variables that come into play when determining the value of a property that it is virtually impossible to accurately price a property without seeing it. Perhaps it works for some areas but it doesn't work in Albuquerque, New Mexico."
"I know that the founder of expedia started this site and claims it will do to real estate what expedia did to travel. First, I don't think expedia had much to do with it, the internet did. Perhaps if it was helping you get the best price for a car it could work but being off by 5% on a property worth $500K means your off by $25K and that's being generous on the accuracy of this site."
"While it's a good concept the Zestimate's provided by Zillow are way over-Zealous."
"Not Zantastic! EVERY time I go onto the site, it tells me there's an error. I've done this from different computers too! Also, it lists my house as only having 1.5 baths, when it really has 2.5. So, the Zestimate is out of whack. I don't know where the site got 1.5 baths I've never seen this misinformation on any listing, tax record, or appraisal. In general, there are far better sites to use for home value estimates... I highly recommend bankofamerica.com. Go to the "Real Estate Center." Not only is it easy to use, but it's really accurate. I used it to find comparable sales for my past mortgage deals as a Loan Officer!"
"Zillow, The Impossible Dream. In my personal opinion, in any marketplace there are two realities to valuations; first the valuator must have local intimate knowledge and second, both buyers and sellers must believe in the valuations."
"Zillow meets neither of these realities. Because it cannot really know the neighborhood, it frequently and randomly appears to over value and under value the actual market value by more than a 10% error rate, which is no small number of dollars. Beyond that, in trying to arrive at a single value instead of a range, the buyer will often see the valuation as too high, while the seller often finds it too low. In my opinion Zillow is therefore likely to increase the apparent disparity more than reduce it. "
"I only have one point to make about zillow. Its difficult to take them seriously when they use assessor pricing which doesn’t tend to reflect market pricing."
"There is absolutely no substitute for driving through a neighborhood and walking through a home. Zillow isn’t useless, and it’s interesting to see what it does, but only an idiot would add or eliminate candidate properties based on what they see at Zillow. Regardless, the technology is cool."