If you are considering selling your home in the Asheville area, it's not a bad idea to jump on Zillow.com to get an idea of how much you can expect to sell it for.  But how accurate is the Zestimate®?

Thankfully, Zillow has made it fairly easy to access the data on their website at https://www.zillow.com/zestimate/#acc.  They are mostly tracking the largest 30 cities in the United States, which Asheville does not even come close to falling under.  In fact, it seems that the smaller the population of the city, the less accurate the information becomes.  However, we can use state wide info to at least get an idea of the extent someone should use this information when valuing their home.

If you download the most up-to-date excel sheet you can see that North Carolina has earned itself a "3-Star" or "Good" rating for accuracy according to Zillow.  As of today's date, they are taking into consideration approximately 4.4M homes that are listed on Zillow, 3.2M of which have a Zestimate® allocated to them.  In other words, approximately 73% of the homes in North Carolina are being calculated. 

Then the information goes on to generously tell us how accurate the sale data is on the homes they are tracking.  Of these homes, about 51% actually sell with 95% accuracy,  70% sell with 90% accuracy and 82% sell with 80% accuracy.*   So what does this mean?

Let's say you own a nice little 3 bed 2 bath craftsman style house sitting on a half acre in the 28806 zip code.   You are considering selling it For Sale By Owner because "West Asheville is Hot" and you want to save on those REALTOR expenses.  So, like anyone you hop onto Zillow and check your Zestimate® to be $350,000.  Here are a couple of very real scenarios that you should consider.

1.  Perhaps your home is not in the booming part of West Asheville, but actually in the Sulphur Springs area, a quarter mile away just on the other side of Patton.  It is very likely that your home is going to fall into that 80% accuracy mark.  Meaning instead of your home selling for the $350k Zillow estimates, you can actually expect to get something more like $280000 (or far less in this situation.)  Say goodbye to all of your plans for "when your home sells" because if you list that $70k high, not only is it not going to sell quickly, you're not likely even going to get a showing.

2.  Let's say your home is right in the heart of the action, and completely renovated with all the highest of high-end finishes.  You've got a nice view, open concept floor plan and sunlight pouring in from dusk till dawn.  You use that same $350k selling price and wouldn't you know it, the house is under contract and sold cash in only 48 hours!!!  Of course you gave them a discount because it was a quick closing and they were so nice. So, lets say your net profit form the sale was $330k.  Great job!  3 months later you are talking a friend who is a real estate agent and they inform you that your home should have sold for $420k or more.  Did you successfully sell your home by yourself or did you leave $90,000 on the table?                                                                                                                                                           

Zillow is great, the Zestimate® is great.  Just make sure you are not making any large scale decisions based on the calculated data from this site.  Zillow states on their site:                                                                     

"The Zestimate® home valuation is Zillow's estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home's value. "

Before you list your home for sale, or purchase a home, I STRONGLY recommend you have a licensed professional real estate agent or appraiser perform an in-depth comparable market analysis to determine the actual value of the home.  If this is something you would like us to do for you, please give us a call at (828) 707-5642.

*data is pulled directly from Zillow.com.