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Real estate agent: Don’t rely on online tools to price home – Spectrum News

Whether you’re a seller or buyer, it’s important to get an accurate estimate of the value of your home.

Beau Piorkowski, an agent with Core Real Estate Team, says he sees far too many clients who rely solely on the “zestimate” of their property.

“I would say the “zestimate” of this house is off by $20,000 or 25,000, which is no small chuck of change,” Piorkowski said of one property.


What You Need To Know

  • A “zestimate” is Zillow’s online tool that estimates the market value for a home
  • The tool uses a proprietary formula, including public and user-submitted data
  • Nationwide, its median error rate for on-market homes is 1.9%, which means “zestimates” for half of all on-market homes are within 2% of the ultimate sale price

Zillow’s “zestimate” is a computer-generated tool that provides an estimate of a home’s market value.

“A house 0.3 miles away of similar square footage, number of beds and baths has sold recently for this price, and the price of your home gets tweaked on comparable sales and value,” Piorkowski said.

The algorithm is based on public and user-submitted data and factors in location and market conditions. However, there are several factors that an online estimate like Redfin or Realtor.com won’t pick up on.

“[C]ondition, certain amenities of the home, updates, appliances. There’s many things that a computer won’t see,” Piorkowski said.

So far this year, Zillow’s online tool has evaluated more than 100 million homes. Its median error rate is 1.9% nationwide, which means the “zestimate” for half of all homes on the market are within 2% of the ultimate sale price.

But the site states that the tool is just a starting point; homeowners should consult with a real estate agent or appraiser for an accurate estimate.

“Specifically in the Capital Region, with my personal past sales, are off $30,000, $40,000, $50,000,” Piorkowski said.

While some people are relieved to find out their home is worth more than predicted, there’s a flip side to that as well, which can lead to a rather awkward conversation with the homeowner.

“The computer doesn’t account for being on a busy intersection, having neighbors close by, which can affect the value in a negative way,” Piorkowski said.

In this unpredictable housing market, Piorkowski says find an agent who knows the area well, and if you don’t have extra cash for repairs, working with what you have goes a long way.

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