Many of my clients and colleagues are talking about Zillow, an online National pricing and marketing entity that offers an immediate comparative price analysis based on recent sales in a given market. "Is it accurate in pricing?" They may ask. Or "Is it a meaningful part of a real estate company's marketing proposal?" "Is it something that Sellers and Buyers should worry about or follow closely?" And finally, "What impact does it make on the market at large in the minds of the Sellers, Buyers and Brokers?"
These are all great questions and here's what I think...
Real Estate is, has, and always will be a local, people business. In order to accurately price a property, a real estate professional draws from years of experience "in the trenches", so to speak, not just computing data from a large database. While Zillow is designed to gather, compute, compare and contrast regional county assessments, and recent real estate transactions , it can NEVER replace the experience a Realtor has by going INSIDE houses every day, looking at the more intrinsic features of a property and following the market history.
For example, Zillow can never make a judgement call of how valuable a splendid custom WoodMode kitchen is, or how luxurious and fine a home's library wood paneling may be, how much money you spent on the amenities, or even just how a home "feels" when you walk through. Since Zillow has no subjectivity, and relies solely on averages and a town's assessment to determine a home's value, it can not possibly determine true value of a property. In addition, their calculations are only as good as the databases from which they derive their information. Many homeowners have not had town assessors into their home in years, if not decades, and even when construction is done on their home, and a local assessor requests a walk thru to determine new value, many homeowners are unavailable or even unwilling to let them through. In this case, a home is assigned an average price for an average upgrade, and trust me, assessors can never imagine what we can conjure up! In addition, many towns have inaccurate data and antiquated town halls and management and the assessments are way off mark.
So, while I think that the public is aware of Zillow, reviews Zillow and may even be interested in following Zillow, the well-informed Buyers and Sellers realize that there is a huge differential in the prices between Zillow's "zestimate" and the eventual sale price of a home.
I'd love the opportunity to talk with you in more detail, and give you a much more reliable snap shot of your home's true value.
Marcie Pucker, Realtor, Rutledge Properties