I just got a Zillow Zestimate on my
Utah home, is that really the value?
We get this question quite often, not only from our regular buyer and seller clients, but our investor clients as well who rely heavily on fair market value to determine what properties to pursue.
Zillow “Zestimates” have become iconic on the internet for quickly determining value of properties all over the US. Don’t get me wrong here, they do provide a good place to Start your research on the value of your own home or any property that you are contemplating . But the key word here is START.
The Zestimate from Zillow is just that…an estimate. They pull publicly available records and transactional data (sales) and send them through a computerized formula to determine value. In states where transactional data IS public record, Zillow is fairly accurate in that regard.
However, Utah is a non-disclosure state so transactional data is Not public record. Zillow must rely only on Tax Records for it’s zestimate…and we all know how accurate Tax Records are…right?
For example, our condo is listed on the tax records as a 3 bdrm, 2 bath. This is based on the building that was built right before ours where 2 (only 2 mind you) units opted to have a 3rd bedroom built into the living area. . The tax assessor has never been to our unit, and assumed all of the 1st and 2nd floor units in our community had 3 bedrooms. We only have 2 bedrooms which should, you would think, lower the tax valuation.
Yet, until last year, it was valued higher than the Penthouse unit which has 1/3 more square footage, a 2nd floor and 3 bedrooms, 3 baths plus a loft area. Things that make you go hmmmm?
Now, the tax records value the units at around $216,000, but the units have actually been selling for around $280,000. Zillow cannot see those records in Utah, so they formulate their value by relying solely on tax records.
To illustrate my point even further, here are the Zillow Zestimates on 2 homes we listed and sold in the last couple of months.
This next home at 204 Layne Dr is pretty much the same. The zestimate from Zillow is $170,000. We listed this home for $189,900 and sold this home (in one day June 2011…pretty impressive eh?) for $187,500.
So, using Zillow Zestimate can give you a good start to your research, but remember it’s only a start. They have never claimed to be the ultimate value machine either, their thought is to help you get started.
To get a more accurate view of what your home is really worth, get the help of a Realtor (bet you knew I was going to say that…). Your Local Realtors have access to all the factors that will determine what your home is worth…solds in the area, your competition (currently for sale), condition, location…these determine the true fair market value of your home.
So, you can start with a Zillow Zestimate, but if you want the real value of your home…Give Us A Call (cause we are Realtors..). We don’t bite and we are happy to help you whether you are thinking of selling, refinancing, or you just want to keep up with the market in your neighborhood.
Let us help. Give Us A Call at 801.819.9005.