Online real estate Websites have a rather shocking secret buried in the pages of their sites. The data they use is not accurate in many cases. That’s right. The data Zillow, Trulia, and others use to create property value estimates is not accurate. At best, the data they use is not the whole story.
What?! How can that be? Well, for one, states such as Texas do not disclose sales prices. The information is considered private and confidential and is not reported to public Websites. If you want to know what a property sold for, you need to work with a licensed realtor and specifically request the information as part of a market analysis. And as an aside, the appraisal district records do not necessarily reflect the sales price either. Taxable values are very frequently different from the sales price. Take my word on this one.
Zillow reports on their Website that the Zestimates they create are based on the available data. If the sold data is unavailable, how the heck are the Zestimates created? I’ll tell you: using the list price. That’s right, the price the house is listed at. We all know that properties don’t always sell for the list price. In some cases, properties sell way off of the listed price. Here’s an example:
Crowley, Texas 76036
In the last 90 days, 151 properties have sold. The final sales price ranged from 78.57% of the listed price to 112.85% of listed price. That’s a pretty big spread, wouldn’t you agree? How confident would you be with that Zillow Zestimate knowing a spread this large exists?
I’m not beating up Zillow or Trulia or any of the other online real estate sites. I know all consumers use these sites. And heck, I use them, too. The user friendly interfaces are awesome for house hunting! But I hope your take away from this shocking secret revealed is that the consumer sites are great, but frequently inaccurate. So please find a real estate advocate to take you through the process of buying or selling your property. They can save you so much time, grief and money! Even the consumer Websites advise you to consult a licensed professional. Read more online real estate sites and estimates.