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For the last few months, I have checked the zestimates on my property. The value given by Zillow has been a low ball. This is why. My property is in a subdivision that was developed about 9 years ago. The houses in this subdivision are 8 years old or less. Our subdivision is surrounded by houses and subdivisions that are 20 years or older. When Zillow does the evaluation of our house, they compare it to those houses 20 years or older. This is the wrong way to evaluate, and shows that Zillow is not always accurate. Today, they show our house at the top as $278,000. Our appraiser, who did a very detailed appraisal, taking the surrounding area into consideration, appraised our property at $325,000 in a down market.
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A Zestimate is calculated using all the data we have available about a specific home. Differing zestimates means we are basing zestimates on differing data. Just because two homes are right across the street from each other does not mean that we assume they are the exact same. We are reliant on the amount of data that is available for your home, not your neighbors home, to calculate a Zestimate. The more data we have, the more accurate the Zestimate is likely to be. Zestimates are based on a combination of sales trends within a given area and the home facts of a given home.
Also, since it is a computer program calculating the value, it will not take into consideration premium locations or views or the surrounding area like human appraisers do. This is simply because computer programs don't have feelings or appreciation for things like we as humans do. While we are not claiming that the system is infallible, it is 100% sure that the Zestimates are free from human tampering or influence... It just computes based on numbers/data and nothing more. That being said, the Zestimate value is not an appraisal and definitely not the final word on your home's value. For more details read "What's a Zestimate?" - http://www.zillow.com/howto/Zestimate.htm
You are correct in the fact that a computer has no feelings or appreciation like an appraiser does. As I have stated before, and you have also stated, the computer will not take into consideration the location, type of property, etc. Although you state that it is all reliant on the data received, and the more you have the more accurate it will be, does not necessary make it true. I am not a hugh fan of computers determining the value of my property based on data entered. I am a fan of the human eye and dilegent investigation on my property to determine the real value. I believe we will always be at odds.
The Zillow estimate also places LOTS in the same average as HOMES. Which really skews the results. You should seperate them out.
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