How Good is Zillow?

August 21, 2013 Featured, Updates

We like the Zillow site at Townsend Appraisals.  It has some good charts for seeing how the market is doing. It has a lot of houses listed and their prices both current and recent past. School districts are listed, taxes on sales, contacts with agents, lots of information. The Bird’s Eye view below shows a recent listing.

Zillow Values

Zillow Maps

One of the common uses of  Zillow is to provide an estimate of the value for your property.    Of course we are left with the question. How good is the estimate?

In a recent article in The Appraisal Journal, a monthly publication  by the Appraisal Institute, that question was explored.   The article, ” Zillow’s Estimates of Single-Family Housing Values” by  Danile R Hollas, PhD, Ronald C. Rutherford, PhD, and Thomas A Thomson, PhD explored the issue.   The article compared the actual sale values of 2045 single family properties sold in Arlington, Texas with the sale values.  It was done at a time when the market there was stable, and  where Zillow indicated it data has the highest accuracy rating. So how did Zillow do?

Zillow generally overestimated the values.  In over 40% of the  properties, the over estimate exceeded 10% of the value and only .88% of the property values were underestimated by 10% or more.    We think this is good to know.  We wonder how many homeowners have already checked out Zillow’s estimate of value before we see their homes.   If they have, it looks like they may think we are appraising their properties too low.

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