How accurate are third-party real estate websites like Zillow?

Real estate isn’t the same as it was in past decades. These days, consumers are able to search for homes, get automated values, obtain pre-foreclosures, and much more—all by going online. 

However, real estate websites are not always accurate. If you’re a buyer out there, it’s important to realize that while the information you see on these websites is syndicated from the multiple listing service, things can slip through the cracks.  

I have buyers call me all the time to tell me about a property they found online, only for me to look into the listing myself and find that it has been off the market for months. 

Given today’s low inventory, a day or two is all it takes for buyers to lose out on a property they’re interested in. The information on third-party websites doesn’t syndicate quickly enough to be reliable in our hot market. In other words, using real estate websites as your sole source of information isn’t the best way to find a home.

“Using a real estate website will never replace working with a Realtor.”

But, what about the seller’s side of things? If you are trying to determine your home value using an online tool, it’s important to keep in mind that these sites can only provide you with an estimate—not a precise, accurate value. Imagine you’re using a website that has an average 10% margin of error to find the value of a $1 million home. In this case, the website could be off by as much as $100,000. 

This happens because these websites take general, public data and use an algorithm to determine approximate value. Home value websites often lack the ability to consider things like upgrades, location, and more. 

Overall, the level of transparency these real estate websites provide is great. But if you are seriously interested in buying or selling, you will need the help of a human professional. Using a real estate website will never replace working with a Realtor. 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.