So you are thinking of selling your home, but wondering if you’ll make enough money for your effort to be worth it. That’s the first step in selling a home: determining your likely return on investment at the close of any deal.
And of course, a fast, easy way to gauge your home’s market value is to check its Zestimate.
What’s a Zestimate?
A Zestimate valuation is a proprietary Zillow tool for getting a free, instant estimate of a home’s market value. The Zestimate is calculated through a Zillow algorithm that crunches data from public property records, tax records, recent home sales in the area, and user-submitted information to come up with an approximate market value for a home.
The Zestimate takes into account:
- Home details like square footage, location and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
- On-market data such as listing price, description, comparable homes in the area and days on the market.
- Off-market data such as tax assessments, prior sales and other publicly available records
- Market trends, such as seasonal changes in demand.
A Zestimate is not an official appraisal, but it is a powerful tool for sizing up your home’s market value and planning your next move. Zillow publishes Zestimates for more than 104 million homes across the country. The Zestimate formula uses hundreds of data points for each home to come up with a number representing the likely selling price of that home.
How accurate is a Zestimate?
Zestimates are generally quite accurate. The median error rate for the Zestimate of U.S. houses on the market is just 1.9 percent. The median error rate for houses that are not on the market is higher, at 6.9 percent, but still close enough to do your preliminary planning.
A Zestimate’s accuracy depends on the data available in the geographic area around a home. Some counties and cities have detailed public information available about a home’s size, features, and age, while others do not. The more data that’s available to put into that formula, the more accurate the Zestimate will be. You can learn more specifics about the accuracy of the Zestimate in your market in this FAQ.
In major metro areas around the country, from Austin to Atlanta, and Cincinnati to San Diego, the Zestimate for on-market homes is within 20% of the actual selling price more than 99% of the time.
What if my Zestimate seems too high or too low?
The amount of data we have for your home and other homes in your area directly influences the Zestimate. So you can make your Zestimate more accurate by providing more information about your home. The first step to doing that is to claim your home and edit your home facts on Zillow. All that takes is entering your address on Zillow and taking a few steps to prove you’re the home’s legal owner.
From there, tell us more information about your home — like that you added a main bedroom, remodeled the kitchen or built a pool. Or you can correct inaccuracies — like telling us there are three full bathrooms instead of two in your home. The additional information will be included in your Zestimate, potentially making your home valuation more accurate. Because the more data we can put into the algorithm, the closer to the actual appraised value the Zestimate will be.
You’ll also want to check the sale dates for your home on Zillow to make sure they’re correct, as well as your property tax history. And consider letting your local tax assessor know about any home updates you’ve done. If there have been additions, updates or other work that your tax assessor doesn’t know about, they’re likely not reflected in your Zestimate, either.
Lastly, be aware that the Zestimate changes in response to market trends and even shifts in seasonal demand. If you see unexpected movement in your Zestimate, that could be the reason.
More questions about the Zestimate? Read a detailed FAQ about how it works.
Check out more helpful tools for sellers
Now that you know more about a Zestimate's accuracy, check out more free Zillow tools to help homeowners sell their homes smoothly.
Zillow’s Home Sale Proceeds Calculator can estimate how much profit you’ll make from selling your home. It takes into account the true costs of selling a home — like repairs and staging needed to help a house put on its best face for buyers, agent commission, and closing fees — to tell you how much it will cost to sell your home, and how much you’ll put in the bank when it’s all said and done.
Find an agent to guide you through the process of selling your home on Zillow’s directory of real estate experts. Hiring a savvy agent is one of the best moves you can make in selling your house. They know what’s going on in the local market, can point out home improvements that will increase your home’s value before you list, and help you market your home so you make as much money as possible from the sale. Simply put, an agent is your best friend when it’s time to sell your biggest investment.
Yes you can manipulate Zillow values. I make edits to a property every time I sell a property to bring the Zestimate up.How do you influence Zestimate? ›
The amount of data we have for your home and other homes in your area directly influences the Zestimate. So you can make your Zestimate more accurate by providing more information about your home. The first step to doing that is to claim your home and edit your home facts on Zillow.Can you raise your zestimate? ›
The more data and facts you have about your home, the higher the chances of increasing the value of the Zestimate. What is not known by most sellers, is that increasing the home Zestimate is not difficult at all. Once Zillow has the accurate and up-to date data, it will calculate the right estimate for your home.How far off can a zestimate be? ›
Zillow's Zestimate has been found to have a nationwide error rate of 1.9 percent for on-market homes. When it comes to estimating home values for off-market housing, the error rate jumps to 6.9 percent. Overall, Zestimate accuracy is between 95% and 96%, so it's pretty accurate in most cases.Is zestimate usually close to appraisal? ›
The Zestimate is often less accurate than your Realtor's estimate and can be thousands of dollars off. According to Zillow's Zestimate page, “The nationwide median error rate for the Zestimate for on-market homes is 1.9%, while the Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.5%.Is zestimate close to appraisal value? ›
The algorithm is going to continue to get better, and a Zestimate is definitely a tool in the toolbox. But the good news is that it is not accurate enough to replace a professional appraisal or a thorough CMA from you, the experienced local real estate agent.Can you change the zestimate on Zillow? ›
If you're unsatisfied with your Zillow Zestimate, you unfortunately won't be able to directly change it. But you can influence your Zestimate by updating information about your home, fixing incorrect information, and adding rich details to make sure your home's profile is complete.Do zestimates tend to be high or low? ›
Are Zestimate usually higher or lower than others? Zillow's Zestimate can be higher or lower than other estimates of a home's value, depending on the specific property and the local real estate market.Can Zillow estimates be manipulated? ›
Cannon adds that there's one big problem with Zestimates: Homeowners can go in and change the data about their houses. "If you're not exactly sure what the total square footage of your home is, and you think it's larger than what Zillow has it listed, you can go in there and manipulate that square footage.What is more accurate than Zestimate? ›
Redfin is more accurate when valuing homes.
Both Zillow and Redfin give homes an approximate value, but the Zestimate provided by Zillow has proven slightly less accurate than Redfin's estimate. Final numbers depend significantly on the local market and demand for a property in your particular location.
Zillow took a $304 million inventory write-down in the third quarter, which it blamed on having recently purchased homes for prices that are higher than it thinks it can sell them.Why is my zestimate so off? ›
It's likely that all homes have a lower estimated Zestimate than actual value. So, on the basis of time frame, Zillow is picking bad comparables. If your Zestimate includes homes that were sold over 3 months ago, that's going to be one key reason your Zestimate is so low.Which online real estate estimate is most accurate? ›
- Redfin. The most accurate home value estimator is Redfin, as it uses historical pricing data and also considers real-time demand and market trends. ...
- Zillow. ...
- Realtor.com. ...
- Trulia. ...
- Ownerly. ...
- Chase. ...
- RE/MAX. ...
Cannon adds that there's one big problem with Zestimates: Homeowners can go in and change the data about their houses. "If you're not exactly sure what the total square footage of your home is, and you think it's larger than what Zillow has it listed, you can go in there and manipulate that square footage.Why is Zestimate so wrong? ›
A home's features are combined using an algorithm and compared to data from recent sales and home values in the neighborhood to produce a Zestimate. As a result, Zestimates are only a rough estimate of what the home is worth, not the actual value. They are not an appraisal, and their accuracy varies.Why is Zillow Zestimate inaccurate? ›
The most common reasons for inaccurate Zestimates are limited data, market volatility, and data errors. It's important to remember that your Zestimate is only an estimate based on a proprietary algorithm and the information it's fed. If there are inaccuracies in that data, the Zestimate will also be inaccurate.