SELLER FAQ: Realtor CMA or Zillow Zestimate®?

Reblogger Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956

If you're thinking of buying or selling a home and are relying on zillow zestimates to help determine a price, you might want to rethink your strategy.  Zillow zestimates do not take into account the condition of the home, the school district of the comparables nor the neighborhood conditions.  Your local Realtor knows your neighborhood, has seen the insides of these homes and is familiar with the pluses and minuses of the particular location.  Andi Grant does a great job outlining the reasons why it would be to your advantage to rely on the expertise of your local realtor when it comes to pricing your home - that is if your serious about selling your home for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time in toady's market.

If you're thinking of selling or buying a home and you'd like an accurate picture of your homes value, give me a call, LEAH STERN 914-772-4528 and I'd be happy to schedule a tour of some camparables and price your home to get it SOLD.

Original content by Andi Grant BRE# 01728424

SELLER FAQ:  Realtor CMA or Zillow Zestimate®?

Why is my Realtor using their own comps to price my home and not the higher estimate I was quoted from Zillow? 

That is a great question!

Realtor CMA or Zillow Zestimate

With the introduction of several aggregate real estate websites years ago, some home owners started bypassing Realtor suggested listing prices when they blindly trusted what I oftentimes thought were inflated, overpriced home value estimates from websites that appeared to use computer generated models and formulas to determine home value estimates. When it was later discovered that a home’s worth required much more than a simple mathematical computation, some of the same real estate sites settled on extreme range pricing to determine a home's potential value. Some had/have ranges with a margin as high as 15%.  OUCH! Do the math on that one. Can a seller afford to potentially be off by 15% on pricing a home?  What if the formula prices it at $400K? That's $60,000 the seller could potentialy over-price or under-price their home! Really? 

When a seller prices their home too high, it can result in little to no buyer showings which equals little to NO OFFERS, ultimately forcing the seller to drop their asking price (multiple times in many cases) in a late attempt to grab new home buyers and recapture the old ones already lost – creating a “too little-too late” scenario with the latter. On the flip-side of that coin, when a seller uses an estimate that prices their home too low, it can rob the seller of thousands of dollars they left on the table that could've been counted towards their net proceeds.


INSIDE HOME TOURS A Realtor has most likely toured the actual home that needs the valuation! In many cases, some of the other competing homes as well. Can a generic website do that?  With that invaluable knowledge of size, feature and condition of the competition, it is my strong opinion that a Realtor CMA over a Zillow Zestimate® can best determine a competitive listing price for their client.

LOCATION: A Realtor will most likely have a better understanding of the positives and negatives of a home’s location when it comes to effectively pricing it against its competitionthe same cannot be said for a generic website. How can a computer website understand that although two nearby homes may have similar square footage, floor plans and features, there may be many other factors involved that could decrease or increase the desirability of the home to buyers ultimately affecting its pricing such as high/low ranking school boundary lines, alley or noisy establishment abutment, main thoroughfare, freeway noise compared to a quieter residential street, just to name a few.  

MARKET CONDITIONS: A local Realtor will most likely be aware of the market conditions in the area of the home they are valuating than a website that's based in another area and in most cases another state! As a BUYER if you lowball in a multiple offer seller’s market your offer will not be taken seriously. On the flip side of that in the same type of market, if your offer price is too high and the home doesn’t appraise, you could be asked to make up the price difference in hard out-of-pocket cash. Yikes!  As a SELLER, if you price the home too high in a high inventory buyer’s market and/or do not allow wiggle room for seller concessions, you could get stuck with the home a lot longer than you planned potentially costing you thousands. 

CMA’s ARE NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: As you have read, it is no simple task determining a home’s value. Most of the same generic real estate sites now advise buyers and sellers in their disclaimer remarks to use their site's estimates as supplemental information to a real estate professional’s CMA before listing or making an offer on a home. So…in answer to your question as to Realtor CMA or Zillow's Zestimate®, it is my professional opinion that when trusting your most important investment, it’s best to leave it up to the humans, a real live experienced Realtor®. 


When you are ready to schedule a home tour to get a more accurate estimate of your home's potential value, do not hesitate to call me at 310-508-4354 Or you can start the process by simply filling out a free 5 min CMA at and I will be sure to contact you shortly.



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Elite Home Sales Team
Elite Home Sales Team OC - Corona del Mar, CA
A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team

Thank you again and again.  These estimates are something that many really believe in. 

Aug 17, 2013 02:13 PM #1
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Leah the online valuation is something  we often have to explain to potential sellers ,since these sites are usually points of reference for potential sellers.

Aug 17, 2013 04:32 PM #2
Andi Grant
310-508-4354 | - Los Angeles, CA
Helping 1st time buyers and home sellers in LA!

Thanks for the reblog Leah!  I just responded to a rep from Zillow who commented on my blog.

Aug 17, 2013 05:31 PM #3
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Yeah.  I wouldn't trust a Zestimate at all.  A local CMA is the best way to determine your home's value.  Couldn't agree more.  

Aug 17, 2013 10:44 PM #4
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

The scary thing is . . . consumers do not realize how the comps really work and how ours are so vastly different and not GUESS-ta-ments!  

Aug 18, 2013 03:32 AM #5
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Mark - Sellers just don't get it. 

Jennifer - We must be doing a poor job of explaining it to them since they keep on just believing in those online valuations.

Andi - I'm off to check that one out.  Curious to know how he defended those zestimates.

Jared - Someone who knows the intracacies fo the local market is always your best bet.

Carla - We need to be doing a better job of explaining to the ocnsumers the difference between our market valuations and online guesstamets.

Aug 18, 2013 10:38 AM #6
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Leah, Zillow is a joke. They are a big box brand that consumers flock to falsely believing what Zillow does and why it does it.  Do I need to say that I am NOT a fan of Zillow?  

Aug 19, 2013 03:59 AM #7
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Kathleen - Does this mean you're not a fan of zillow?  Seems like you have lots of company.

Aug 19, 2013 10:30 AM #8
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Thanks Lora & Andi for a nice and through explanation demonstrating the complete superiority of the agent CMA.

Aug 19, 2013 12:45 PM #9
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Elva - Nice way of putting it.  Local agent CMAs trump zillow zestimates all the time.

Aug 19, 2013 01:07 PM #10
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., ABR, GRI, SRES - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

Great post to re-blog.  Condition is a huge factor.  So many home owners continue to turn to zillow for pricing.

Aug 20, 2013 05:29 AM #11
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Patricia - at the end of the day, the reason Illow fails to come up with accurate quotes is because they haven't been in the homes and dont know the intricacies of the homes or the neighborhoods.  That's where your local realtor comes in.

Aug 20, 2013 02:35 PM #12
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