Too many people assume if they see something generated by a computer formula or in print is has to be TRUE. I think the last election process in the United States at least having people thinking more on the lines of "Trust But Verify".
There are lots of computer Automated Valuation Models that try to determine value ranges for a home. There are so many variables, that I don't think automation will ever put a appraisers out of work. Heck, if a Zestimate was so accurate, wouldn't they call them Zaccurates?
How would any system know about how much of a premium to put on a homes value due to the view it might have? Maybe when it was built it had a great view, but maybe the neighbors trees grew and deleted the view?
How would a computer model know if there is a dairy a half mile away and the prevailing winds draft right though the kitchen window of the home?
These automated valuation models don't offer a scratch and sniff option to see if the house smells like cigarettes or cats!
How would they know if a seller was over motivated to sell and that comparable sale shouldn't be used in the valuation? How would they know if it was even an arms length transaction?
Since I already said you should verify data, here is what Zillow has to say about their own accuracy ratings. You to their website and follow these simple steps:
That will open this next page:
Now we are digging into fun stuff, the fine print!
When you clicked the link on their website above, it downloads the actual spreadsheet to show how THEY believe their own accuracy is per state or top metro areas.
Please notice that Zillow gives themselves a 1 out of five ranking based on the following definitions:
Idaho is a non-disclosure state so Zillow and other automated valuation models like it don't get enough data to start with. Feel free to use their website if you like, but as long as you realize they are an advertising website, not the Multiple Listing Service, things will come into focus.
Websites like Zillow are getting better for valuation, but check several sources including your favorite Realtor or Appraiser!
Hope this helps!
Jim Paulson, CRS, GRI, ePRO
Owner/Broker - Progressive Realty Corporation