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Don Taber
RE/MAX Complete - Wilson - Wilson, NC

I always tell them that it is a computer program that looks at all the facts and then applies those facts to every home in a given area.  Unfortunately, the computer has not been in the houses and doesn't know the condition of the homes and all the other factors that go into a true market price for a house.  If that doesn't work, go into your MLS to some of the pending listings and make note of what the Zestimates are.  Then when they close compare the Zestimates to the actual purchase prices.  That should speak the loudest.

Nov 09, 2015 09:29 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
HomeSmart - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Karen - I show them the facts. I will pull comps of recent sales, and compare that information to the Zestimate. I will also let my clients know that Zillow has never seen the inside, nor outside of any of these homes they are placing a value on, and they do not track any upgrades or remodeling.

Nov 09, 2015 02:15 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Show them the actuals from mls.

Nov 09, 2015 09:21 PM
Rob Rosa
Berkshire Hathaway - Wethersfield, CT
Personal Real Estate Expert

I explain that they are algorithms and cannot take the place of a person seeing certain features, layout or upgrades in a home. In addition I like to show the home seller that we are looking into the future as to what the property can sell for in 30, 60, 90, 120 days. Those could be very different numbers.

Nov 09, 2015 08:58 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Did Zestimate knock on your door and see your home?  How do they know? The worst story I have ever heard was of a couple back east who bought a farmhouse with 10 acres for $700,000 tear down, and built a barn for horses, a 10,000 sqaure foot home, a 3000 square foot guesthouse, pool, tennis court etc.  Guess what the Zestimate was $700,000?  They interviewed several agents to decide upon a price, and one of the agents used the Zestimate as the final price...the property was worth somewhere between 6 and 7 million...A

Nov 09, 2015 12:17 PM
Michael Thacker - Re/Max Real Estate Center - Louisville
Re/Max Real Estate Center - The Thacker Group - Louisville, KY
Your best friend who just happens to be a Realtor

I like all those responses, and I will add just one more. I tell them that the "market" determines the sale price, not an algorithm. 

Nov 09, 2015 09:44 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

You have to explain why it's not accurate and show them. When I do that, the arguments go away.

Nov 09, 2015 09:41 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Zillow actually admits their zestimates are just estimates based on info pulled from public records. Many other companies do the same thing to come up with an estimate of value. They are estimates. They have no way of knowing if owner just finished the basement, added a patio or deck, just installed new 40 year shingles, had a new fireplace built, added an outside kitchen, replaced all the carpet with hardwood flooring, etc, etc.

Nov 09, 2015 09:19 PM
Robert Smith
Preview Properties, PC - - Brighton, MI
SRES, Search for Homes Brighton-Howell-SE Michigan

I tell them it's a plus/minus 20%, 60% of the time.

Nov 09, 2015 09:04 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

It's easy to explain if you live in Texas. We are a non-disclosure state so the sold information is not available for Zillow. They are off anywhere from 20 - 35% because they are not privy to the sold data.

Nov 09, 2015 07:50 PM
Jim Joeriman
Coldwell Banker Riviera Realty, Inc - Lacey Township, NJ
Helping Agents Reach New Heights

Use the Zillow AVM and other AVM from other sites.  It shows the disparity between diff arythhums and demonstrates how u reliable they are.

Nov 09, 2015 07:08 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I show them zestimates in the area vs. recent sales prices. That usually cures them with a quickness.

Nov 09, 2015 12:25 PM
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

We have no choice, but to explain it to them....Just to straighten out their thinking.

Nov 09, 2015 12:23 PM
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

I let them know this is only an estimate and does not take into specific upgrades a given home may have.  While this is a place to start,  there is no substitution for personally seeing the subject house and researching the actual condition of the comparable houses.

Nov 09, 2015 10:43 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Actually, the Zestimate is tightening up. In Oklahoma County the overall error is about 7% for most listings. If you take the 97% to 98% of the listed price sale on the MLS then you are down to about 5%, then when you see that is from the last listed price which is usually at least 5% from the original list price then you have the same AVM estimate as what REALTORS® are doing in reality. Looking at Core Logic and RPR the way their AVMs work is similar except they do a range which can be very wide. The thing is to understand that an AVM is a starting point, not absolute value. I think we get too caught up with this part of Zillow when we should be having real fears about what else they have been building towards.

Nov 09, 2015 10:36 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

It takes a lot of supporting evidence like others have mentioned here, but for those who really believe, they will need to learn the hard way.


Nov 09, 2015 10:33 AM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

I tell them that there are a lot of nuances in every local market that a website does not factor into their extimate.

Nov 09, 2015 10:10 AM
Cindy Davis
SD Home Source Realty - San Diego, CA

Zestimates are statistical compilations of sales prices. They do NOT take into account any unique features of a home, including but not limited to: views, upgrades, orientation, natural light, and condition of home. If a homeowner spent $100,000 in upgrades, it still would not be reflected in the zestimate.

Nov 09, 2015 10:10 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have a copy of the CEo's interview where he says  point blank that they are wrong  by up to 20% and more most of the time.   I show that report and it makes a big difference

Nov 09, 2015 10:09 AM
Amelia Robinette
NoVa House and Home - Frankly Realty - Falls Church, VA
Education, Innovation, Service

I refer them to the numerous articles in Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal that all say 'zestimates' aren't accurate.

I also explain to them that Zillow, Trulia et al are advertising websites that are free to the public because agents pay fees - that's how they're monetized. 

Then I show them the real data.

Nov 09, 2015 09:28 AM
Evelyn M Epperson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Johns Creek, GA
A Tradition Of [Excellence, Trust & Service]

I usually tell my sellers or buyers zestimates are estimates and not an indepth market analysis.

Nov 10, 2015 03:14 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

I love this question from clients.   Let's pull up your house....hmm your home is "worth" $1,000,000 but let's look closer that can range from $850,000 to $1,275,000.    Oh and look at the some of the "comps" they are using --- what --- that dump around the corner that sold three years ago.

Point made.   

Nov 09, 2015 11:51 PM
Melissa Polce
ERA, Wilkinson Real Estate Charlotte - Huntersville, NC
Lake to Land, I've Got It Covered!

I like to say that it is a starting point...but then every REal Estate site will also have their own estimates...some zestimates have been "overall" accurate but not neighborhood specific...then most people get it-great post

Nov 09, 2015 11:40 PM
Dee Neal
Palmer House Properties - Alpharetta, GA
Atlanta Area Real Estate

I simply tell client's that it's not accurate. I let them know that these websites pull from databases that aren't up to date. I normally have no issue with it. 

Nov 09, 2015 11:35 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Thinking the Zestimates had an accuracy percentage right on their site to start, plus providing the homeowner with ACCURATE solds/UC and Actives.  

Nov 09, 2015 10:53 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner Zestimates go away when you can prove your data with an accurate CMA.

Nov 09, 2015 10:52 PM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

I simply inform them that New Mexico is a no disclosure state. There is NO WAY Z can give an accurate number.

Nov 09, 2015 10:35 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ


For several reasons.

  1. It reveals the world in which the client lives (what they believe)
  2. It is easy to expose the lie
  3. It provides the platform I need to establish my value.

Historic data will reveal the accuracy of the Zestimate. Simply look at what has sold in your area in the mls and pull up the Z. It will still be miles away from reality. 

Now, you tell the seller, "We'll do MUCH better than that!" And to the buyer, "DO you really want to buy a house?"

Did you notice only BUYERS '"BELIEVE."

In the CIS Score Report the z and JMV and BofA value are posted along side the score. "Which number do you want to believe?" you ask the client. One has a proven 4% accuracy, while the others accuracy is buried in double speak and the most impressive exhibition of Vanity Metrics ever seen.

Nov 09, 2015 10:26 PM
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

I simply tell them that Zillow and their "zestimates" suck.  

Nov 09, 2015 09:56 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

The otehrs have given you good answers. 

Nov 09, 2015 08:45 PM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

 Good Tuesday morning Karen. If you want to put some zest in your life, just go out and visit the big 'Z'.

Nov 09, 2015 05:30 PM
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Karen. On the mortgage side, it is less of a problem compared to the real estate side. I let people know that these numbers can't be trusted.

Nov 09, 2015 04:58 PM
Toronto, ON

I don't.  Zillow only applies in the USA.

Nov 09, 2015 04:01 PM
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA

I wrote a blog piece about it a while ago, so I refer people to that sometimes, but my favorite response came from a friend who's husband works for them. It's a ZEstimate, not a ZAppraisal. 

Nov 09, 2015 02:28 PM
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

I have had the best luck comparing them to the mass computerized tax valuations. Most people accept that tax valuations aren’t very accurate so if they understand the same methodology is being used that solves the problem.

Nov 09, 2015 12:45 PM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Simple Karen, it is computer generated and cannot do the work of a human. Also did Zillow see the home? I think not.

Nov 09, 2015 12:05 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

My problem are assets managers who heavily rely on zestimates. That is kind of silly and very inconvenient when the house costs 20-30% is less than they think. 

Nov 09, 2015 12:03 PM
Mike Rock
Complete Design - Granite Bay, CA
Granite Bay Luxury New Construction...For Less

its an average of a average of a mean of a number... the computer doesnt know YOUR neighborhood

Nov 09, 2015 11:17 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I give them a spread sheet with recent hard data <90 days,. < 0.5 miles, gla+/-10%, age+/- 10 yrs and lot size.   I summaried the avg and bingo, photos.

I tell the clients that is what the apperaiser uses. They quickly shut up.


FYI Redfin recently removed Zestimates and Trulia got its version of the Testimates.    

Nov 09, 2015 10:46 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

The only way to talk about accuracy is to show them just how off those Z's are.

Nov 09, 2015 10:02 AM
Dan & Laurie Pittsenbarger Team
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Lakeside & Coastal Single Family Homes

I tell them that Zillow is a tool and sometimes halfway decent - a huge spec home developement with the same repeating 3 or 4 floor plans all built within the same few years - sometimes Zestimates are ok. And sometimes for general info and trends Zillow serves a purpose.  However, like Don said, it's computer program generated "core logic" type estimate that doesn't factor in condition and the other factors. These other factors are things like a steep driveway vs. a flat driveway, a home that backs up to a busy road vs a home that backs up to a greenbelt of busy street, whether or not the seller's were smokers, whether or not there are pet smells - things that effect value and require judgement that a computer program can't do.

Nov 09, 2015 09:42 AM
Anna Hatridge
R Gilliam Real Estate LLC - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with R Gilliam Real Estate LLC

Karen, I am answering this before I read any of the 53 other answers.  

My answer is 'Zestimates are like zest soap.  Kind of a slippery slope to stand on." 

Nov 10, 2015 10:54 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

I tell them that web site is not privvy to all real estate related sales, therefore making them innacurate and then give them information based off the local MLS.

Nov 10, 2015 09:41 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I explain that zillow doesn't actually go into the properties

Nov 10, 2015 09:36 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Some of the initial advice that we should offer is that Zestimates are not always accurate.

Nov 10, 2015 07:16 AM
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

I tell people everyday that these can be all over the board and not to get caught up in what they show ....I wish they were more accurate!

Great question!

Nov 10, 2015 06:51 AM
Jeanne Feenick
NextHome Premier - Basking Ridge, NJ
The Agent you choose REALLY does make a difference

My response is that they are accurate as often as they are not.  There is always a great example that can demonstrate the point - start with the general comment and then provide the facts....they may not get it the first go around, but perhaps after losing a few they will get it.

Nov 10, 2015 06:22 AM
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

It's easy in Texas.  Since our deeds don't have sale prices on them, Zillow is no more than a WAG (wild well you know guess). 

Nov 10, 2015 04:56 AM
Scott Thompson
Columbia Mortgage Plus - Blue Springs, MO
Commerical Finance - Blue Springs, MO

I might show them my old house hhaha:  Zillow:  1.2m

Reality:  200g's with a push.

And there you have it.


It is actually fairly accurate in some area's.


Make it a Great Day.

Nov 10, 2015 03:33 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

I explain that it is a computer program that looks at numbers but has no area knowledge to know where trailers stop and million dollar homes begin. 

Nov 10, 2015 02:57 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I finally wrote an article about it for and I send them the link. Half the time they don't even realize I wrote the article, they just accept the authority. That's what I do with a lot of stuff that requires lengthy or complicated explanations. I write an article or a blog and I send the link.

Nov 10, 2015 12:22 AM
Virtual Realty Consultants
Virtual Realty Consultants LLC - Wellesley, MA
Making the American Dream a Reality

I show them RPR  and tell them that I can rely on that data.  Since Zillow in the Greater Boston is by their own admission only reliable within 80% of value 90% of the time.

Nov 13, 2015 09:22 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Karen I come with facts and data, Zestimate is easy to beat if you have your comps and knowledge of the area in your toolbox,E

Nov 12, 2015 03:32 PM