How to avoid losing thousands because of a low “Zestimate”

Zillow has become a real estate giant changing residential real estate forever. But it has empowered buyers at the risk of hurting sellers.

There are over 315 reviews on Zillow from homeowners with a total average of fewer than 2 stars. As you skim through the reviews you’ll notice a common thorn in homeowners sides. Stories of “53% price drop overnight” in their Zestimate and one Zestimate that was $980,000 lower despite a valuation on a public tax roll.

Zillow makes it very clear that their estimates are not appraisals. But it’s often the first price buyers see. This is powerful value framing that is hard to overcome.

Here’s an interesting chart that shows average Zestimates were off by $18,796!

Report from Real Estate Decoded.

The first and most frequent recommendation is to fill out your listing entirely.

This will increase the odds of your Zestimate going up and as a result decrease the odds of sticker shock when potential buyers reach out and discover your asking price.

Here are some things other users have reported to work for them.

“Not all updates seem to affect the Zestimate, but typically updates to bed/bath count and square footage seem to have the most impact.”

– Sunny View

Also, the way the square footage is listed in Zillow can have an impact. Are they counting the basement and you are not? In putting your home up for sale, using an agent or appraiser to establish value is going to go much further than a Zestimate will, especially to an educated buyer.

– Kevin Olson

“Updates and remodeling explained: Most upgrade information is not in the public records, and is not easily quantifiable. We do not know about home updates and remodels unless they have been reported to the local tax assessor, so those items are not used in Zestimate calculations. While we do utilize user-submitted data that is measurable, (e.g., additional bedroom count, bath count, and square footage) there is no way for us to systematically gather and verify the type of remodel or build information where the value is based upon how the final product appeals to the buyer. Because of this, the algorithm can’t use that information. “

– From Zillow FAQ’s

One Additional Thought

If you are relying solely on the Zestimate to decide what you should charge for your home you may be leaving a lot of money on the table.

I love how easy Zillow has made it for homeowners to sell their houses. But as a realtor who has helped dozens of families get the best price seeing the “Zestimates” makes me cringe.

Homeowners shouldn’t have to miss out on the savings and selling-power of Zillow just because they want a professional realtor to help price and negotiate their home.

ReHive is a company I started as a result. We list your home on Zillow just like you can but with the perks, Zillow only offers to Realtors. But we don’t require the 6% commission for that benefit like other agents.

We know you’re savvy and don’t need our help to take photos and describe your house. The fact is to sell it safely and quickly only realtors have access to the best tools for that job. So we’re compromising. I’ve had other customers describe it as a “Best of both worlds” service. We let you take on the tasks that are easy for you and we help you with the ones that help sell your house faster and safer. And as a result, we don’t charge nearly the same fees as a realtor.

Check out the calculator on our home page and see how much you can save.

And if you’d like me to research an attractive market price (one that gets buyers but not at a discount) for you please fill out this form and I’ll prepare one for your home for free.

Leave a Comment