Moonshine Ink, a Tahoe-based independent newspaper, tapped Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty broker Brian Hopper recently, in a feature entitled “Debunking Zillow’s Zestimate,” which outlines the pitfalls of the popular real estate value estimator. Written by Peter Strand, president of Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty, the article describes that though “Zillow has empowered buyers and sellers to gather basic information about their home and other homes for sale in their market,” it cannot replace the value of an experienced agent assisting with pricing considerations.
As Hopper tells Moonshine Ink, “Zillow is used as a conversation starter before my clients call for a more accurate evaluation of their property.” He says he encourages clients to use Zillow in the preliminary stages of their research, but that it is simply a starting point. Because there are so many variables that make a property unique, it really is “essential for an actual person to walk through the house and spend time seeing exactly what the property offers,” he added. Zestimates can easily miss a variety of factors such as home renovations or a property’s actual condition.
To be sure, Strand writes that earlier this spring, Seattle Times reported that “Zestimate home values in the city were off by as much as $40,000,” a discrepancy the company is now working to resolve with its contest for a new algorithm. Valuation discrepancies are echoed in the Tahoe area, where Brit Crezee, director of marketing with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty Director of Marketing, says the issue truly stands out in the resort markets they serve including Truckee and Lake Tahoe.
For more of Hopper’s insights and to learn how Zestimates are performing in the Lake Tahoe market, read the full article here.