Ask the Realtor – What is a Zestimate?

Jun 22, 2023 | Ask the Realtor

Rosemarie LaBadie

Just about every homeowner in America has visited a website like, or to check out their home. All these sites give an estimate of value in addition to other information. Zillow happens to call it a Zestimate. If you visit one of these sites and type in your address, a wealth of information about the house appears. Not all of it is correct.

It’s almost scary how much information is available to anyone. Within 30 seconds, Zillow gives an estimate of sales net, loan balance, required repairs, suggested rent, refi-payment estimate and so forth.

One of the favorite things homeowners like to look at is the estimate of value (Zestimate) of their home.  Many people think these estimates are accurate.   They want to list their home for the amount of the Zestimate. Or they ask why Zillow is giving their home such a low value.

What these websites do is monitor sales in the area and average them based on the information gathered from the last sale. They do not consider the home condition.  They also adjust pricing frequently based on what is going on in the market.

Last week I had a listing appointment and, during my presentation, I showed the owner what Zillow, and Redfin are reporting. I do this because buyers often visit these sites before they write their offer. Interestingly enough, the day before the Federal Reserve’s interest rate announcement, a message appeared stating a Zestimate was not available. If rates had gone up, I bet those Zestimates would have gone down.

So, if you are watching your home value on a real estate site, bear in mind. it’s an estimate only. A Realtor can give you a much more accurate estimate with a comparative market analysis. We factor in the condition of the property and choose more closely matching  comparable property.

I visited Zillow and typed in my address. I was surprised at the estimate of net. A loan payoff amount was listed (not accurate); I have no idea where that information came from. You can move the toggle to change the loan amount. Then it listed $6,000 in repairs (staging and landscaping) plus $49,000 in closing cost. What! Where did that number come from? It can be a convenient tool but keep in mind it’s an estimate. Or, in the case of my home, a fictional story. This disclaimer is also posted: “All calculations are estimates and provided for informational purposes only. Actual amounts may vary. If you want an accurate estimate of your net, ask your agent for one.”

Another somewhat disturbing fact is all the photos of your home that are posted. After closing, buyers have asked that the home photos be removed. Unfortunately, we cannot remove them. Once the sale is over, California Regional Multiple Listing Service owns the photos. Since the sale is used to help determine value of other properties, those photos stay until the house is listed again.

Let’s talk real estate soon. Rosemarie Labadie Broker CA DRE #01240715


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