About that Zestimate, Spencer….

Rascoff's Zestimate

The zestimate for Spencer Rascoff’s home misses the mark by 50^ of the actual market value.

Spencer Rascoff, the CEO of Zillow, sold his house in Seattle in February for a cool $1,050,000. You might be wondering why I am telling you about this. Who cares if Spencer sold his house..whatever. Well, what makes this story interesting is that Rascoff’s website, Zillow, zestimated that the house is actually worth $1,608,670, off by a measly 53% of the actual market value.


And while it’s super fun for real estate agents to bash the “evil” Zillow monster, the realty is that computer-generated valuations are far from the best way to determine what your house is worth. By definition, the market value is the amount of money a qualified buyer is willing to pay on any given day. Technically, the only completely accurate way to know the value of your home is to sell it.

But maybe you don’t want to sell your house. But you are financially savvy and want to monitor the value of arguable your largest asset on a regular basis. There are lots of websites out there where you can plug in your address and receive an anonymous, hands-off, no-strings-attached estimate of your homes value.
These AVMs Automated Valuation Models – pull date from tax records, and other public information sites and give a rough estimate of what your home is worth based on, well, probably recent sales of homes like the subject property, or maybe not. And they crunch those numbers and come up with a value.
If Spencer had checked out some other AVM’s, he would have found a wide range of values for his home, none of  which came close to the actual market value. He might have also noticed that the square footage of his home ranged from 3470-2316 (check). Because, here’s a shocker…sometimes public info is inaccurate. You know what they say – garbage in, garbage out.
Even if the info was correct, a computer model can’t assess marketability. It can’t tell what your house looks like.  It can’t determine the effect of lot location, schools, popular drug marketing locations, or that fact that the last episode of Hoarders was shot at your house.
You need a real live person for that. A real live person who can analyze data and intangibles and come up with a better estimate for your house.
Using Zillow to determine the value of your home is a lot like using a Magic 8-Ball to make stock pics. Sure you may be right sometimes, but your objectivity is heavily influenced by your desire for extraordinarily good news. And buyers are, let’s just say, more discerning than sellers.
A good realtor will be happy to give you a market analysis and tell you what your home is worth now and the direction the market is heading. You can check Zillow or any of the other sites, but why not get an accurate picture as opposed to a Magic 8-Ball guesstimate? If you want a more realistic assessment of your home’s value, just click on the link below and I will be happy to run some numbers for you.

What's My Home Worth?

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