How well does Zillow Zestimate your home?

Since everyone’s doing it, I thought it would be fun to have one place where people discuss how good Zillow’s “Zestimator” is working!

The process is simple…

1) Go to
2) Type in your address
3) Record the Zestimate of your home
4) Return here, and let us know in the comments how well their tool stacks up to reality.

Here are the Zestimates I’ve gathered so far:

  • My home: The zestimate is probably $40 to 60K too high. The home next door to mine, (which is almost identical) sold this summer for $80K less than the Zestimate
  • Ardell’s home: $200K less than she just paid for it!
  • Robbie’s current home: He estimates that it is $220K too low!
  • Rich Barton’s home: He may have “overpaid a bit” on his $2.6M Madison Park home.

How well does Zillow Zestimate your home?

32 thoughts on “How well does Zillow Zestimate your home?

  1. Since I’m currently renting, I’ll ran a home in my neighborhood that I recently helped a client purchase. According to the Zestimate, I should find a good place to hide because she paid more than 150K more than it was worth.

    It’s funny though, because I was talking with her earlier tonight and she said that she’s been the happiest she’s ever been since buying it. (So I’ve got that going for me.)

  2. So far Zillow reminds me of the new agents I train who think you value a house by running comps and spitting out a number. Some properties will lend themselves better to this type of “market analysis” than others. Also some areas, like newer “cookie cutter” housing develpments built in the late 90s to present.

    The older a property, and the more the property has been remodeled, the less likely the online valuation will be accurate.

  3. Aredell – Robbie’s home is one of those new homes. I’m sure they’ll get better at estimating with time, but you’re right – older homes and remodeled homes are always going to be off.

  4. All view properties are likely to be way off. With all of the water and mountain views we have in the Seattle area, I doubt any homes with views will be accurate. The value of the view changes at each quarter angle and valuing views is truly an art.

    I noticed the comps were going further and further away from Lake Washington comparing view homes, like mine, against homes with no views. This accounts for much of the difference.

    We are also an area of niche neighborhoods, so if the comp is crossing the imaginary line between Leschi and Judkins or Mt. Baker, valuing these areas as if they are one in the same, will not be effective.

  5. I was able to get on early this morning and my property was listed for nearly $90k more than I paid for it in 10/2004 ($205k). I would be thrilled if that were right bit I highly doubt that my single bedroom condo in Belltown is really worth close to $300k already.

  6. Hey Rain City Guide,

    I’ve been following the launch of the majority of vertical search real estate sites and I was curious what your thoughts were on

    I’d be happy to post your thoughts on my blog

  7. zillow lists my house as worth $10K more than an appraisal I had last week – it also lists my house as having 1 bath (it has 2).

    Strangely, when I used their update tool and added a bathroom (no other changes), it actually dropped the value of my house $10K. Which, of course, now matches the appraisal.

    Even a stopped clock and all that.

  8. Derek,

    We’ve written a ton Redfin here at Rain City Guide, but their technology definitely does not excite me any more… It already feels old compared to some of the new products from real estate tech sites.

    Don’t you know that home buyers don’t like bathrooms? Consider taking out both of your bathrooms in order to raise the zestimate of your home even more! 😉

  9. The Zestimate for our house looks preetty good. They got the updated size right, and the value is about what we would expect right now. We’re realtors and watch it pretty carefully. Looking forward to seeing more about whne it works and when it doesn’t.

    First post for us. Thanks for a great blog.

  10. With the launch of Zillow today, consumers will have a lot of information that they didn’t have easy access to. Who want’s to go to a clunky online county tax site anyway. The NWMLS is not accessible for non-members. If you want to throw-up, go to Snohomish information site, it’s pathetic, although it works. I spend too much time on them as a of a function of escrow.

    Zillow’s excellent interface, while still in it’s infancy, will only get better. I think that the consumers will really flock to them, particularly those in the market to buy. The sold data will help immensely and is the cornerstone of the business model. There are too many variables to get a clear understanding of what “my house is worth” to be super useful. But, the long term sales data YOY is very relevant. I don’t think the Realtor community should underestimate the value of this data, nor the community in which its offered via Zillow. I would clearly want to be at a place where thousands of people congregate. For me to think otherwise would be a foolish thing for my own business health–particularly in a shifting market.

  11. My house is dead on. It probably helps that I live in a townhome development that is only 3 years old and completed within the last year. Practically every unit in my complex is listed as a comp.

    I also reviewed five recent appraisals for refinance deals out of our office. They are all very accurate.

  12. Hey, when is zillow gonna get back online. It’s now 3:07 on the west coast. I have been wanting to Zestimate my home all day. Zillow where did you go….? There must be some hard demand for this bad boy.

  13. I “zillow’ed” our home, my parent’s home, neighbors, recent listing and sales…and it was fun, but not quite the killer real estate ap the advance press made it out to be.

    My parents have some wonderful upgrades (which of course Zillow can’t see) and a double lot…but the neighbor’s house came in higher than theirs for no apparent reason.

    My house was pretty accurate…but with a $50,000 range (that 10% accuracy) I don’t see it as a spectacular hit.

    Our old house had an incorrect prior sale listed, so that threw the current valuation waaaaaay off.

    I posted other reactions on – it will be very interesting to see how it evolves.

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  15. I have had reports from all over the country, and those areas where tax assessments are kept in line with fair market value by the tax assessors office, are the most accurate so far.

    Remodels in King County, and maybe all of Washington, do not “step up” the value, to fair market value, after a major remodel. That throws the numbers off dramatically.

  16. Amy (of Zillow) has a nice explanation of why the value of a home could go down as you add a new bedroom in the comment section of this NYT real estate blog post:

    “In the algorithm for home changes, square footage per bedroom is highly correlated with the home’s value. Thus if you keep adding bedrooms but not changing the square footage, you’re going to have a lot of tiny bedrooms which affects the value negatively.”

  17. I live in Mongomery County, Maryland with a very robust real esate market. I just got a new tax assessment at $518k. I was going to appeal, as a slightly smaller house across the street sold for “only” $450k last spring. My zillow number was $520 and showed two other, more similar sales at over $500k last summer. Given the appreciation since last summer, I suspect the Zillow number is only slightly high, and the assessment is too close to appeal. Bummer.

  18. The house details Zillow had were off and it wouldn’t let me correct it. They show my house as a 1 story when it’s a 1 1/2 bungelow. The value was about 25K below what I paid for it a year ago which was unnerving since the housing values in my city are jumping.

  19. I am trying to sell my house, and I think Zillow ZTINKZ! My house was built in the 40’s and has been completely renovated (by us…). Zillow has it undervalued by about 40%. I think Zillow should have some major warnings. The information it uses is purely one dimensional and has no accounting for things buyers pay up for, such as school systems, views, better neighborhoods, etc. The comps it was using for my house were in very different neighborhoods, bringing the Zestimate down. I think without the proper caveats, it is doing a major disservice to sellers and buyers alike (who don’t know neighborhood differences, etc.)

  20. Brenda,

    You’ve hit upon the most common complaint I’ve heard about Zillow: That their Zestimates are simply not accurate for a particular home. Kinda makes you wonder what their follow up product will be…

  21. Oddly, my house appears accurately valued ($285K), but contains an error (it’s a 2-story and it shows as 1-story). It’s essentially the same model and lot size as both my immediated neighbors; they are both accurately valued at $290K, probably because they have 3-car garages and I don’t. When I go to “fix” the error, changing the 1 to a 2, the value plummets to under $240K [!], which is simply not accurate. I can tell the tool is bogus when I go the other way and change the 1-story to a “0-story” (so the house no longer exists) and the value skyrockets to $349K! I wouldn’t trust this thing with any kind of real confidence..

  22. It does a fairly good job. I think you need to look at the range and then get someone else to let you know if it is like brand new inside or needs much updating. I am selling property in Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC. Even though they say their data bases are not as full as on the west coast they seem to give a very good idea of what your house is worth if you truly have a good idea how a prospective buyer will look at it and not emotionally as a home owner might.

  23. We live in Merchantville, NJ a quaint victorian town. We just had a professional appraize our home for $430K . Zillow shows us at $265K. That is a huge undervaluation. I would not trust the Zestimate on any house in any neighborhood on Zillow .com.

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  25. Zillow was right on with my condo…literally within $1K….likely because there’s a lot of buy/sell activity within the condo neighborhood…(Chapel Hill, NC)
    on the other hand, it zestimated about $200K higher than expected at my mother’s home in La Habra Heights, CA

  26. Eugene,

    The more “like kind” properties that sell within 6 months, the more accurate Zillow will be. Same hold for an appraisal’s accuracy.

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