Written by Glenn Necklen
Consumers are getting bombarded with online website options for providing home value estimates. These website providers claim to use "data metrics" and fancy "algorithms" to give homeowners a sense of the current market value of their home. Zillow.com even has a name for their product, called a "Zestimate".
Don't be fooled by the Wizard!
Determining the market value of a home is much too complicated and difficult to rely on software that shifts some numbers around based on data factors. The truth is, the people who build these websites have little knowledge of what it actually takes to determine the value of a home, or sell a home.
The market value of a home can depend greatly on non-data factors such as; lot configuration, adjoining properties, and views around the home. These factors just can't be evaluated by these data systems. The many gray areas of the evaluation process are the reason Real Estate agents tell their clients that Real Estate is not an exact science.
Also, how do these software systems know what upgrades have been done to the home, the curb appeal, or even the general condition of the home? Some systems have adjustment sections to add or subtract value based on these factors, but as the experts in Real Estate will tell you, there is no "one size fits all" approach to making these adjustments.
In fairness, Zillow's value estimator does allow homeowners to log into the site and claim their own property- enabling them to make updates to the data, but there are no checks and balances to these entries. It is then often difficult to trust any of this additional information entered by homeowners.
Real Estate agents actually go visit the home. They look all of the factors of the home, including; amenities, upgrades, condition, and anything else that is specific to a home. When comparing homes, agents also only use similar style, age, and those with similar characteristics to the subject home, not just "any" sold home in close proximity. This thorough evaluation process is second-to-none for accurately pinpointing a home value.
Determining the value of a home is NOT a perfect science, but working with an experienced and professional Real Estate agent ensures a more reliable and accurate result. TRUST in the PROS!
Glenn Necklen is Broker / Owner / Realtor at Necklen & Oakland- Professional Real Estate services in Maple Grove, MN.