I never jumped on the Zillow posting bandwagon. For those not familiar with it, Zillow.com is a site that estimates the value of property using a bunch of publically available data and some proprietary algorithms to come up with approximate valuations. Sometimes it does OK, sometimes not. But it’s getting better.
Zillow scares the crap out of some real estate agents. I don’t understand why. I think they are afraid that Zillow is going to replace them. That’s absurd. Here’s a couple of facts:
Zillow can’t sell anyone a home. Zillow can’t show a home. Zillow can’t look inside a home and evaluate it from the inside out. Zillow can’t talk to people, and people will never be able to talk and interact with Zillow like they can another human being (at least not in our lifetimes, I think.)
Zillow themselves have this to say about their property “zestimates”: Remember, the Zestimate is a starting point and does not consider all the market intricacies that can determine the actual price a house will sell for, such as entertaining offers, negotiating, closing costs, timing, etc. They say they feel they are within 10% of true market value. So that means price your $500,000 home using a “zestimate” and you may just cheat yourself out of 50 grand. But it’s still a great starting point for home value research.
Zillow provides data. Some of it’s OK, some is questionable, but some of it’s fabulous. And that’s the case with most data sources. Anyone that blindly accepts data from ANY source without analyzing it with a critical eye is asking for trouble. But do that, and you may find some interesting things.
They recently released a report on the Phoenix area market. It’s quite interesting and is worth looking at. Here’s a couple of charts from the report:
The full report is available in PDF format here. Check it out and let me know what you think!