De Moraes column: How accurate is your Zestimate?
With today’s technology, it’s much easier for a homeowner to get an idea of what their home may be worth, but how accurate is that really? Those computer-generated estimates, are just that, computer-generated estimates.
You’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again: The true value of a home is what a buyer is willing to pay for it. You can have 50 buyers and sellers of the same home, and none of the sales prices would be the same because of the human factor, and emotions that go into buying and selling a property.
These computer-generated valuations analyze a slew of information to arrive at your home’s value. It takes into account square footage, location, the assessor’s valuation, other sold and available homes in the market place. But … a home is not a commodity. Every home is different, particularly in our area. While these computer-generated programs are fun to look at, they can be completely off base.
How accurate are the county records or the MLS listings from 10 years ago? The county assessor likely has not walked through your home to be sure the information from 1990 is still accurate.
One home is not like the others. It is difficult sometimes to come up with an accurate valuation of a home because homes are not like each other. Just because a home has similar square footage, the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a three car garage is a far cry from saying those two homes should be the same price. A computer will not take into account the fact that one home is built with construction grade equipment, has a chopped up floor plan and the other “comp” is a custom built, open and airy feeling home with killer views.
Fewer actual sales comps in your neighborhood will affect the value as well. The more homes that sell, the more accurate the number may be, and vice versa, based on more MLS data and more sales prices and what homes are trading for in your neighborhood.
Lastly, the market is changing fast and is a bit seasonal. Computer-generated home values are primarily based on past sales. Today’s market is different than it was six months ago, and we still do have somewhat of a seasonal market.
Sean de Moraes is an agent with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s. He can be reached at email@example.com.