Does Zillow Work?

What is my home worthDoes Zillow work, and will it give you a good approximation of the market value for the home you want to buy, or sell? My simple answer – “Sometimes it’s close and sometimes it’s not even on the same planet.”  While Zillow offers many services, it is primarily known as a free website to help folks obtain a property value, without paying for an actual appraisal. It brings out the Curious George in all of us! Below, I will show you a few Zillow estimates and then compare them with an actual appraisal. To be very clear, this blog is not intended to besmirch Zillow or the services they provide, and should in no way be construed as an attempt to discredit the work that they do. I use Zillow all the time for various reasons and really enjoy the site and the information it provides. But, I have been asked this question so many times in the past, that I felt this might be something of interest to many of you who have probably been wondering the same thing. I am not going to bore you with the intricacies of how an appraiser assesses value, or the methodology that Zillow might use to get an estimate. This is simple anecdotal information that you should take with a grain of salt the next time you are perusing Zillow. It is definitely not the, end-all be-all source for this type of information. If you are in the market to buy or sell I strongly suggest you call your favorite local real estate agent to help you. I suspect, they can give you a value off the top of their head that would beat Zillow just about every time. Go ahead – Try it. Some of the agents I know are downright clairvoyant. Here are a few transactions we have completed over the past few weeks, compared to the Zillow estimate rounded to the nearest $1,000:

  • Appraised value $305,000 —-> Zillow value $272,000       (- $33,000)
  • Appraised value $310,000 —-> Zillow value $287,000       (- $23,000)
  • Appraised value $525,000 —-> Zillow value $442,000       (- $83,000)
  • Appraised value $295,000 —-> Zillow value $302,000       + $7,000
  • Appraised value $640,000 —-> Zillow value $628,000       (- $12,000)
  • Appraised value $185,000 —-> Zillow value $171,000       (- $14,000)
  • Appraised value $262,000 —-> Zillow value $239,000       (- $23,000)
  • Appraised value $525,000 —-> Zillow value $458,000       (- $67,000)
  • Appraised value $400,000 —-> Zillow value $369,000       (- $31,000)
  • Appraised value $410,000 —-> Zillow value $413,000       + $3,000
  • Appraised value $565,000 —-> Zillow value $522,000       (- $43,000)

Note – These were transactions done within Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, or Yuba County. Again, these are not exact numbers and are only for the purpose of this completely unscientific exercise. To Zillow’s credit they too add the following verbiage to their website – A Zestimate home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value. It is not an appraisal. Use it as a starting point to determine a home’s value. Hope you enjoyed this! If you need a clairvoyant agent, let me know. Of course, they are so good, they may already be calling you!!!! They are scary good.


For More information please contact Dan Tharp @ 916-257-1470 or email Dan at

 The information contained in this training has been prepared and distributed for educational purposes only.  This training information shall not be construed as a guarantee of loan approval; All loans are subject to underwriter approval.

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