Everyone’s seen the commercials and advertisements for sites like Zillow or Trulia. Though these sites can be a tool in your home search process, it’s important to remember their role is actually very small and many times, inaccurate. Here’s why:
- Their listings are not up-to-date.
- While these sites provide general information that can be a good resource for buyers, it would be best to consider contacting local agents and deciding who it the right agent to represent you.
- Zillow itself encourages buyers and sellers to conduct further research such as “getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent” and “getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser.” Home statuses are often not up-to-date because the site is not connected to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so it will often appear that more homes are for sale in an area and for a price that reflects a market from years ago.
- The sites are designed to make money.
- When you click on a “Request Info” or “Contact Agent” tab, chances are you are not contacting the
listing agent for that property. Instead, an agent that is paying the website for leads will reach out to you in hopes of making you a client. (As of April 2015 Zillow had about 60,000 agents paying for leads, which means you would be getting in touch with an agent at random, instead of one hand-picked by you.)
- The website cannot accurately determine the worth of your home.
- These are huge differences in the real estate world. If you really would like to determine the value of your home, contact a realtor to guide you through the process. It is free and, most importantly, accurate.
- First of all, “zestimate” is not a real word. When you use this tool on the website it takes the average price of homes sold in that area, calculating your home’s “worth.” Unfortunately, Zillow is a national website that includes homes from all different neighborhoods and zip codes. This means it cannot take into account the school districts, knowledge of declining or flourishing areas, property taxes, proximity to interstates, hospitals, attractions and shopping, and bodies of water, etc. to accurately give you an estimate of your home’s value. It also doesn’t take into account the condition of your home – the newly remodeled bathrooms and kitchen, new roof, hardy siding, refinished hardwood floors? Doesn’t count. Zillow also doesn’t take into account the local market – something a local realtor will understand extensively.
These are huge differences in the real estate world. If you really would like to determine the value of your home, contact a realtor to guide you through the process. It is free and, most importantly, accurate.