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Are Zillow Estimates Accurate? A Closer Look

Are Zillow Estimates Accurate? A Closer Look

For anyone who’s ever tried to get an idea of their home’s value or perused potential real estate purchases online, Zillow’s “Zestimate” is likely a familiar tool. The Zestimate is Zillow’s home valuation model, and it aims to provide an estimated market value for a property. But just how accurate are these estimates? Let’s delve in.

What is a Zestimate?

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand what a Zestimate is—and isn’t. The Zestimate is a data-driven valuation tool that calculates an estimated market value for millions of homes across the U.S. Zillow uses public property records, recent home sales, tax assessments, and more, along with proprietary algorithms, to generate these estimates.

Factors Impacting Zestimate Accuracy

Several factors can impact the accuracy of a Zestimate:

  1. Availability of Data: In areas where more data is available, such as recently sold homes or property records, the Zestimate is more likely to be accurate. Conversely, less data can lead to broader estimation ranges.
  2. Market Volatility: Rapid changes in the local housing market can throw off the Zestimate’s predictive capabilities.
  3. Unique Home Features: The Zestimate has limitations when valuing homes with uncommon features or those that are not well-represented in local sales data.

Accuracy Metrics

Zillow itself has provided information about the accuracy of Zestimates. They frequently update their data coverage and Zestimate accuracy table to give users a better sense of the tool’s reliability. On this page, they highlight the median error rate for Zestimates, helping users gauge potential discrepancies.

Real-Life Comparisons

Many homeowners and real estate professionals have shared their experiences comparing Zestimates to actual sales prices. While some find that the Zestimate is close to the mark, others report significant variances. These anecdotes underscore the importance of using the Zestimate as a starting point, not an exact valuation.


  1. Hire a Professional: If you’re serious about selling or buying, get a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a licensed real estate agent or an appraisal from a certified appraiser. These professionals use localized knowledge and insights that Zillow’s algorithm cannot capture.
  2. Use Multiple Sources: Don’t rely solely on one tool or website. Sites like Redfin, Realtor.com, and others also provide estimates that can be compared with Zillow’s Zestimate.
  3. Stay Updated: The real estate market is dynamic. Home values can shift due to local economic factors, interest rates, or even neighborhood developments. Keep an eye on changes and reassess your property’s value periodically.


While Zillow’s Zestimate offers a valuable starting point for understanding home values, it should be used in conjunction with other resources. Its accuracy varies based on location, data availability, and market conditions. As with any estimate, it’s essential to approach it with a discerning mind and seek professional expertise when making significant real estate decisions.

Celester Thomas

Company Blog – Soldier to Soldier Hawaii Realty

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