The truth about on-line home valuations in Utah (i.e.… Zillow zestimates, Trulia estimates)
I frequently get calls from friends and clients – confused or upset because they saw a “zestimate” that valued their home at $25,000 below what we have it listed for or $10,000 below (or above) what they purchased it for…. Sometimes they’re excited because they think it will be justification to contest a property tax bill.
While offering an additional good marketing tool, sites such as Zillow and Trulia access information that is incomplete and therefore inaccurate. Utah is a non-disclosure state – meaning sales prices are not public information. Even in full disclosure states such as Colorado – where sales information is readily available, the MLS is the only really accurate valuation resource– providing important additional information such as square footage on each level of the home. (Main level square footage is more valuable than 2nd floor footage – which is more valuable than below-grade space).
Real Estate professionals are able to access information from the MLS – evaluating home sales of homes comparable to yours in size, style, age and condition – including the very important square footage per floor comparison; thereby arriving at a reasonably accurate home valuation. Appraisers perform an even more in- depth evaluation of “sold” comparisons –thus providing an even better assurance of home value.
In summary: Don’t stress (or celebrate) about a zestimate or any other on-line look up home evaluation. If you need to know what you home would sell for right now, call your knowledgeable Realtor – ask her or him to please look at your home, take some time to pull and evaluate comparable “solds” and voila – you’ll find out within reasonable accuracy what your home is worth.