The Problem With a Projected Home Value Calculator

A wooden cut out of a house sitting on a table next to a calculator and a stack of 100 dollar bills.

Projected home value calculator websites like Zillow have gotten incredibly popular. Curious shoppers and nosy neighbors can look at nearly any home and see a somewhat accurate estimate (or Zestimate, as Zillow calls theirs). A projected home value calculator website can be fun and even helpful as a starting point for shopping for a new home or pricing your own home for sale. Let’s take a look at what Zillow’s services might include and what they don’t.

Perusing through Zillow and its projected home value calculator, potential buyers see a fairly specific price. But how did Zillow get this number? They look at:

  • Physical features such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and location
  • Information available such as public records showing improvements made for which permits were given, tax assessments, and prior sales records
  • Market information like other home features listed, advertised price, days on the market, and comparisons with similar homes and market trends
  • Proprietary algorithms that may include factors like noise levels, commute times, and others

As helpful as that Zestimate can be for perusing neighborhoods in which to buy or a gross number for discovering what your home may be worth, it’s also good to know what is not included. After all, the highest accuracy rating they even hint at claiming is under 96 percent of the final selling price, which we needn’t tell you is over $8,000 off the selling price of a $200,000 home. They actually advertise a 90 percent accuracy, which would be $20,000 off. According to information publicly available online, unless there are some secrets in the special sauce of Zillow’s algorithm, they can’t be including details like:

  • Improvements to the home that do not require permits recorded with the government
  • Age or condition of appliances and furnishings that may be included in the sale
  • Area development plans for which permits haven’t been issued yet, like neighboring businesses or housing developments in the planning process (a gas station a block from your house will affect its value)
  • Property improvements that do not show up in a tax appraisal, such as a wicked tree house or a shed that’s been converted into a sauna (it was hard to think of a better example on a Friday)
  • Faulty features like leaky basements, poor drainage, weed encroachment, pest invasion, mold, etc.
  • Social dynamics such as personalities or habits of neighbors or HOAs
  • Theme value - like rustic vs modern, classic vs trendy, similarity to surrounding homes vs uniqueness, etc.
  • Data that is inaccurate and out of date
  • Curb Appeal
  • Buyer and seller motivation
  • Neighborhood features and individual needs, such as a busy street which may be off putting to older adults or families with young children, but may be a plus for a worker with no kids at home who wants a quick commute
  • Subjectivity of property assessment for taxes (which a projected home value calculator like Zillow would use)
  • Others

Of course, we think sellers should stick with someone local that can talk to them about their home’s value based on those factors listed above, plus others. A projected home value calculator is really an “estimator” and not to be taken as an appraisal, nor as a guide to the asking price of a home. We think the best choice for a seller is Seller’s Choice (See that? See what we did?) We have oodles of years of experience and we are up on the trends in the local market. Plus, we aren’t looking for an average value of a home LIKE yours; we want to earn YOU the MOST for YOUR home. Contact Us and give Seller’s Choice a chance to sell your home for its full value.

Ready to Sell your Home?

When you’re ready to take your next step to sell your home in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, be sure to contact Sellers Choice for your best choice in real estate needs. The agents at Sellers Choice Real Estate will aid you in completing all of the steps mentioned above, as well as help you take any additional steps to help you sell your home quickly and without any added stress.