Zillow vs Appraiser

It seems that Zillow is every nervous homeowner’s best friend (and in some cases their worst enemy). Hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear “Zillow told me my home is worth (fill in the blank).” 

The Zestimates that homeowners often present to appraisers can produce some interesting (and misleading) results.  So much so, that I thought we could do a comparison of 12 randomly selected appraisals that were completed by our office and match them up against their Zillow Zestimates.  Keep in mind that the appraisals have the benefit of a full property inspection by a human being.   Zillow uses public records and complex algorithms.  Here are the results. 

Lafayette Hill house Appraisal: $600,000 Zillow: $529,000

(-11.83%)

Oreland house Appraisal: $230,000 Zillow: $209,500

(-9.78%)

Gladwyne house Appraisal: $585,000 Zillow: $633,500

7.66%

Roxboro twin Appraisal: $206,000 Zillow: $186,300

(-10.57%)

Conshohocken house Appraisal: $350,000 Zillow: $279,600

(-25.17%)

Blue Bell house Appraisal: $335,000 Zillow: $314,900

(-6.38%)

Chestnut Hill twin Appraisal: $300,000 Zillow: $334,200

10.23%

East Falls twin Appraisal: $411,000 Zillow: $427,100

3.77%

Center City condo Appraisal: $755,000 Zillow: $634,200

(-19.05%)

Penn Valley house Appraisal: $585,000 Zillow: $561,000

(-4.28%)

Rittenhouse Square townhouse Appraisal: $1,900,000 Zillow: $898,700

(-111.4%)

Chester Springs home Appraisal: $1,000,000 Zillow: $871,700

(-14.72%)

As you can see there are some pretty significant deviations between the appraised value and the Zillow Zestimate.  In one case, Zillow was off by more than 111% (this seems like a fluke) but, in other examples as close as 3.77% (not bad!).

Bottom line, Zillow is a tool…a starting point.  It’s wonderful for neighborhood data, graphs and general sales information.  It’s probably not the best place if you’re looking for assistance with making definitive decision.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions, please feel free to contact us…215.836.5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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Comments

  1. Great post. Love the real world examples.

  2. A lot of times Zillow will provide a range of value that is quite large and really is only good as a starting point, like you said. I have similar figures in my own work.

    • Thanks for the comments, Tom. Zillow can be a fun tool and has some great graphs and demographic data but, that’s about it. Hope you’re staying busy!

  3. I couldn’t agree more. On line sites just cant take a host of factors that affect value and mix them into the pot.

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