Zillow’s site features a property value tool, known as Zestimates, for consumers to use to see the value of their homes. They claim to be able to tell you the value of more than 100 million homes in the U.S., however the information offered by Zillow and other similar home value evaluation sites is not usually as accurate as you might think, especially when it comes to evaluating property values in smaller communities such as Lakengren.
Zillow’s algorithms use public record and user-submitted data. They put out automatic updates of property values weekly, and sometimes more often; however often times the accuracy of the information that Zillow uses is faulty. If the square footage, number of bathrooms or room sizes are incorrect, the estimate that they give for home values is also incorrect.
Furthermore, while Zillow tends to be pretty accurate when it comes to major metropolitan areas, such as New York City, Chicago and San Francisco,in smaller areas such as Lakengren, Eaton, Camden and other towns in Preble County, Ohio the estimate that Zillow gives can be off by as much as 18%.
The reason for this is because the housing turn over rates in large areas are much greater than the turnover rates in smaller areas where people tend to live in their homes for decades as opposed to 3-5 years. The inaccuracy of this information can mean a difference of thousands of dollars when it comes to a real estate transaction.
The table above that shows Zillows accuracy for many counties in Ohio. Out of four stars, Preble county only receives two. The margin for error when it comes to Zestimates in our county is a whopping 18% and only in 11.6% of homes sold was Zillow’s “Zestimate” within 5% of the actual selling price.
Zillow is unable to account for many things including upgrades and individual features of each property. If you have made upgrades to your home, chances are some of those have increased the value of your property; however generalized estimates from home value sites have no way to account for these. That is why using an experienced Realtor, who has a firm understanding of your market and can provide you with a comparative market analysis of your local community is so important.
An excellent Realtor has experience in comparing homes within the neighborhoods of their community to create a detailed estimate of the listing price of a property. Price comparison is only one of the tools used by realtors when evaluating the market price of a home. This is where Zillow falls short, and it is why the estimate that is given by Zillow can be so far off, automated algorithms just do not have the ability to closely analyze the unique features of the homes and neighborhoods in Preble County, Ohio, Lakengren and other small communities.