Zestimates and other “online or instant valuations”

I see a growing trend in the availability of “online or instant valuations.” The inherent problem with a valuation created by a computer algorithm should be painfully obvious…an algorithm has never walked your home, walked any of the other homes, or heard the home’s story as told by its owner. No computer program can do that.
One of the most popular online valuations is Zillow’s “zestimate.” Here’s text directly from their website…

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. The Zestimate is calculated from public and user submitted data; your real estate agent or appraiser physically inspects the home and takes special features, location, and market conditions into account. We encourage buyers, sellers, and homeowners to supplement Zillow’s information by doing other research such as:
•Getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent
•Getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser
•Visiting the house (whenever possible)

As they have responsibly stated, it is a mere starting point. I’ve seen them off by as much as 200% in my practice, although normally they are within 20%…20% is a lot of money when we’re talking about YOUR property. If you really want to know what your home is worth, hire a Broker or pay the 400 bucks to an appraiser.
As a licensed Broker, I have performed over 3000 such opinions, all supported, and all of them done by walking the home and making the appropriate adjustments…and I do them as a complimentary service.
If you want to know what your home is REALLY worth, give me a call.