Zillow Zestimates

It’s a proven fact that the majority of homebuyers start their home search online.  One of the more well-known sites for home information is Zillow.  Zillow provides a range of tools for homebuyers, including Zestimates, which are Zillow’s best estimate of a home’s value.  Should you make decisions based on a Zestimate?  Here are the things to consider.

How Zillow Calculates an Estimate of a Home’s Value

Zillow uses an automated system to prepare estimates for over 100 million home in the U.S.  Given the sheer volume of estimates it tracks, Zillow must use a calculation based on a range of publically available information that results in an average price.

Data sources used for the estimate include MLS home listings, county tax records, and recent sales in the target home’s area.

How Accurate are Zillow Zestimates?

Zillow is open about the accuracy of its Zestimates.  For example, Zillow explains that half the home values are within 5.4 percent of the selling price, and half are off by more than 5.4 percent.  That means that half of the $200,000 homes on the site could be valued at roughly $190,000 on the low side or $210,800 on the high side.

Let’s say that the half that are off by more than 5.4 percent are actually off by 10 percent.  In that case, the $200,000 home could be valued at $180,000 on the low side or $220,000 on the high side.

Why are the Estimates Inaccurate so Often?

There are many reasons why the estimate could be inaccurate:

How Can Zestimates Cause Problems?

The biggest problem is that homebuyers and sellers tend to take the estimates they see on Zillow and other real estate websites as fact.  They don’t know about information like this and Zillow doesn’t make it easy to find.

Homebuyers may plan on making a ridiculously low offer on a home, and home sellers may plan to set an unrealistically high listing price for their home.  Then, when a professional real estate agent gets involved, the homebuyers and sellers are often presented with conflicting information.

Real estate agents are very familiar with Davie FL homes for sale, the neighborhoods in the area and the real estate market.  The comparative market analyses they prepare take many factors into account that the automated systems don’t.

What’s a Consumer To Do?

The advice I give to my clients is that they can use websites like Zillow to see lots of information, but that they need to take estimated home values as a very broad guideline.  They need to realize that the home value estimates are most likely off by tens of thousands of dollars.

In addition, I recommend that clients use a home search that comes right from our local MLS, like this one.  Searching the MLS gives you the most accurate information available, and you can simplify your search by setting up your own search account.

Using this account, you can save homes you like as favorites, and get emails as soon as homes that meet your criteria hit the market.  You can also save searches so you don’t need to select your criteria every time you visit the site.

If you have questions about buying or selling home in the Davie FL area, the experts on the Teri Arbogast Team can help.  Call us at 954-242-8030 or send an email!


Teri Arbogast Team Davie FL Homes for SaleWe specialize in Davie FL homes for sale, and Broward County homes for sale in the Cooper City, Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise and Weston communities.

Do you want to sell your home, but you’re afraid that getting it into “top dollar” shape will take too much time or money?  Don’t despair.  Here are some easy home staging tips from a top Davie REALTOR® that will help you create a truly competitive Davie home for sale.


  1. Update Your Fireplace

A fireplace can be a focal point of a room.  But, if your fireplace screen is dingy, there is an inexpensive and quick fix for that.  Remove the screen and the glass door if it’s attached.   Use a brush to remove any dust from the screen and cover the glass.

Purchase a heat resistant spray paint and, using long sweeps about 18 inches away from the screen, restore the black screen to its former glory.

Many fireplaces can look outdated if they’re surrounded by red brick.  You can quickly update the look of your fireplace by painting the brick.  Use the same color as the walls, or a complimentary color to make the fireplace the focal point that will sell the room.

  1. Give your Kitchen Cabinets a Facelift

Kitchens sell homes.  If your cabinets need an update, you don’t need to replace them from a home staging perspective.  New stain in a trendy shade or a coat of paint is an excellent way to make your kitchen shine.  Combine the new color with coordinating hardware and you can update your kitchen in a flash.

  1. Update Your Kitchen Appliances

Old appliances will make your kitchen look tired, even if you update the cabinets.  The entire kitchen will look like it’s been renovated when you invest in new appliances.  In addition, you’ll get a return on that investment in the sale price of your home.

  1. Make that Wood Paneling Go Away

When buyers step into a room with wood paneling, their first thought is “that has to go!” You can fix the problem by painting the paneling.  If you’d rather cover up the fact that the paneling exists, you can fill the indentations between the panels with wood filler before you paint.

  1. Lighten Up Dark Rooms

Sometimes a room is dark because it doesn’t get much sun.  In a mature neighborhood, overgrown landscaping is often the problem.  Trimming bushes that prevent the light from coming in might be all you need for effective home staging.

In addition, you can paint the room a light color and install can lights in the ceiling to brighten dark corners.  Finish the room with light colored furniture accented with pops of color, and you’ll have a room that contributes to a quick sale.

  1. Give Every Room a Purpose

One of the goals of staging your home is to let buyers see themselves living in the house.  You may have all-purpose rooms, but they’re not helping you sell.  Make sure every room has a purpose, even if you need to start packing some items that would confuse a buyer.

For example, if one of your bedrooms hosts a desk, toy shelves and a twin bed for guests, there’s just too much for a buyer to absorb.  While you have your home on the market, stage the room to be either a guest room, an office or a playroom, but not all three.

  1. Showcase Your Home’s Storage Space

One thing that buyers always look for is whether a house has enough storage.  When buyers see an overflowing closet, they assume that there isn’t enough storage space in the home.  Sometimes homeowners will “remove the clutter” in their rooms by overstuffing their closets, which is the worst thing you can do.

Before you put your home on the market, organize your closets.  If necessary, start the packing process to store infrequently used items in boxes in a storage area.


These are just some of the things you can do to prepare your home to sell.  If you have other issues, check with a top Davie REALTOR® like those on the Teri Arbogast Team.  We’re local experts who work quickly and diligently to sell your Davie home in the shortest time possible at the best market value.  Contact us at 954-242-8030 or online today!




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