Zillow Zestimates and Why Home Sellers Need Realtors to Price a Home

zillow estimates of market value

How accurate are the Zillow Zestimates for a Sacramento home seller?

If you would like to hear something hilarious about Zillow and Zestimates, consider this. When I asked a new agent in my Midtown Lyon office what he thought about a listing I had placed on Lyon broker tour a few months back, he said that he believed we had priced it too high. When I asked him to explain how he came up with that idea — because when an agent is still in training, you never know what process they use to determine value — he said he looked it up on Zillow.

My mouth fell open in shock. I’m afraid I gave him a lecture, probably a speech he was not expecting, about how no professional real estate agent anywhere in the country ever in a million years would rely on a Zillow Zestimate, and if he wants a future in the Sacramento real estate business, he needs to learn how to estimate value independently. Don’t you be caught dead taking a Zestimate, I warned. Pricing a home is a service we offer, as a Sacramento Realtor, to our clients. We must be able to accurately and precisely compute market value.

I don’t think that guy is talking to me anymore.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a buyer’s agent or a listing agent, or you do a combination of the two services, an agent needs to know how to price a home. If only life were that simple that we could go to a public website and gather all of our information and never have to retain a specialist for services, but that’s not reality. Not for now, anyway.

We can’t use FaceTime for a doctor visit, although that’s a pretty good idea. You know, we could always drop by around lunchtime to offer a sample of blood or have our vitals taken in a private drive-through booth. Instead of wasting time sitting in the damn waiting room and reading old copies of Golf Digest.

To price a home for sale, there are many values to take into consideration and to compute that far surpass the data a person can obtain on Zillow. It doesn’t mean that Zillow is bad by any stretch, there is a lot of excellent information on that site, and sometimes, let’s face it, I admit to stooping so low as to tell other buyer’s agents, hey, go look at Zillow. The Zestimate for my listing is $625,000 and yet it is for sale at $575,000. What a great deal for your buyers! Send your buyers to Zillow, too!

Some of those agents, let’s face that, too, they don’t know any better, as evidenced by that new agent in my office and my daily interactions with other buyer’s agents.

I check out the Zillow Zestimate so I can properly explain to my sellers — whom you can bet your bottom dollar have already looked at Zillow — why that value is incorrect. That’s one of the reasons they really need a top listing agent. Because the professional Sacramento Realtors, well, we don’t rely on Zillow for market value.

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