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How Accurate is Zillow estimates compaired to getting a written appraisal for your home?

im looking to eliminate my PMI but my lender wants me to get a written appraisal for 475.00. Cant they just look at Zillow and see I qualify?
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June 01 2013 - US
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Answers (10)

Zillow is an amazing search tool.  It allows buyers, and sellers, to get a rough estimate of how much their property is worth, how active their market is, and how much homes are selling for.  The "Zestimate" is only an estimate based on Zillows information, which at times can be a bit dated.  Only an licensed appraiser can provide the up-to-date, detailed  and accurate information your lender needs to make sure the home you are purchasing is valued at the price you are paying.  I hope this helps and please feel free to contact me if you require additional help!
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September 25 2013
Zillow only provides an estimate, it is not an official appraisal.  Check out the Zillow glossary on what the Zestimate really is.  Best of luck.
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September 25 2013
Here is what I simply say to my borrowers, Zillow is the Kelly blue book for real estate. It gives you a general idea but an actual appraisal will have the most up to date comps.
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September 25 2013

As a REALTOR, I find that Zestimates can be hit or miss, especially since the editable data is frequently incorrect.  I almost always have to correct/update my listing clients' Zillow data.

Even if the Zestimates were very accurate reflections of market value, a lender will still require an appraisal to remove your PMI.

Good luck!

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September 24 2013
im looking to eliminate my PMI but my lender wants me to get a written appraisal for 475.00. Cant they just look at Zillow and see I qualify?

No, an interior inspection appraisal is usually required. Click here to find an appraiser in your area - shop around for your best price. Most ANY appraiser should be OK with your lender, but ask first...
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September 24 2013
As a certified appraiser I often find Zillow estimates off by more than 20%. How long will it take to make up for the $475 if you get it removed, less than a year? Weight it out and see if it is worth paying the $475. Ask if they will let you find an appraiser on your own, you may be able to find one for less than $475. Picking your own appraiser for the loan would not be an option for a loan but may be acceptable by your lender for PMI removal.
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September 24 2013
Profile picture for nickmz
Zillow estimates are a joke. They have insufficient data to generate a reasonable estimate. They rely on publicly available data that can be wrong, and owner data that can be 'less-than-truthful.  A real estate professional (realtor or appraiser) is the only way to go. I tried to use the Zillow estimate for my neighbors house as a reason to lower my taxes and the county officials just laughed at me.
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September 24 2013
Profile picture for Dunes ..
I'm fairly certain most Lenders are informed enough to know the Zestimate is just a silly toy used on an RE Site to attract the less informed and not something to be taken seriously...
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June 01 2013
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Computer generated automated estimates are only a starting point for property comparisons.    While a lender can use Zillow for a quick look, they are violating terms of use if they use it for lending decisions (and removing PMI would fall into that category). 

Your Zestimate is presented with a value range in the Zestimate table.  The value range is the 70% confidence interval (i.e. 70% chance it would sell for a value in that range).   You may note that is a pretty wide range.

Here's a link to Zillow's "Data Coverage and Zestimate accuracy"
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June 01 2013
No, they will require a full professionally prepared appraisal. Zillow simply uses averages in their estimate model. Be sure to ask your lender if they require you to order the appraisal from one of their sources.
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June 01 2013
 
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