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Why Realtors Hate (and secretly love) Zillow

Mar 14, 2017 11:21AM ● By Denisen Hartlove

 This is the age of information. Christmas shoppers eschew local businesses for Amazon and Etsy, online news sources pepper readers with reports day in and out, and home buyers and sellers routinely greet their real estate agents at the door with handfuls of data readily at hand. 

A quick Zillow search will give you a "Zestimate" on the value of your home in less time than it takes to say "questionably accurate market data." 

But whether you’re searching for a pair of good walking shoes or an idea of what your home is worth, quality outperforms quantity every time. 

(No shame in surfing Zillow, by the way. We agents even find ourselves occasionally looking for that $20 million home for when our Lotto ticket is The One.) 

As agents, we regularly have conversations with our home selling clients about the difference between their Zestimate and the actual value of their home. The numbers are often way off -- and pricing matters in marketing your home to sell.

Here’s how it works: Zillow uses data gleaned from various sources, and throws in a few algorithms from afar for market data, locations and trends. 

In an article by Housing Wire last year, executives admitted their system produces a 6 percent median error rate. 

On the price of a coffee and a bagel at Starbucks, 6 percent is pocket change. 

In 2016, the average price for a Concord home with three or more bedrooms was $569,388. A 6 percent error would miss by $34,163.28 -- not an insignificant amount.

When valuing your home, let us show you our chops. We take into account local data and knowledge of what’s coming soon in your neighborhood. We go through the homes, tour yours, walk the neighborhood, and talk with lenders about interest rates. We talk with other local agents about what they have coming soon, the pricing of which could affect the value of your home.

Make no mistake: We love our clients to be educated about the journey we're embarking on together. Knowledge is power. But remember quality counts, and despite those gorgeous gazillion dollar castles on a hill – local knowledge is everything.


Denisen Hartlove is a Realtor with Keller-Williams Real Estate. Reach her at [email protected], (925) 408-7901.