Seller Tips

The Problem with Zillow “Zestimates”

Sure it can be fun to go onto Zillow and take a peek at what they think your home is worth, but take it with a grain of sea salt (more healthy) and then call or text me at 310.721.1835 for a complimentary home value analysis. 

Zillow’s values are typically, significantly wrong.  They flat out admit on the Zillow website that “Zestimates” are 20% wrong over 86% of the time in Los Angeles. 

Zillow’s technology uses mathematical algorithms to come up with values and this technology has no way of taking into consideration the nuances of value i.e. the views, location, neighborhood, material finishes, floor plans, market conditions, etc. 

There are 3 things that sell a home… marketing… property condition… and price.  If you price your home too high, it will sit on the market. “Days on market equal dollars lost” is a phrase I came up with while filming HGTV’s “Selling LA.”  The longer your home stays on the market without an offer… the more market worn it will get.  People want what people want and “value” is what people typically want.  Positioning your home in the market at an energy price that will generate buyer activity is critical to bringing a selection of strong offers and ultimately, successfully closing escrow on your home while putting a big smile on your face. 

Many of the homes I have listed are in an area above the famous “Sunset Strip” in West Hollywood, CA.  This area is a prime example of how Zillow’s “Zestimates” are infamously inaccurate.  One of the major reasons for this inaccuracy is the proximity of each home as it relates to views.  The Hollywood Hills above Sunset Blvd have deeply undulating canyons with homes, which are close neighbors, having significantly different views.  A home with a lot positioned out on a bluff may have sweeping, panoramic, jetliner views of the from Griffith Park Observatory… past DTLA… across the LA Basin… Century City… all the way to the ocean and onto the Santa Monica Mountains.  That type of view is hugely desirable and sought after, adding significant value to the property (literally multi “million dollar views”).  If that exact same home with the exact same features (bedrooms, baths, square footage, lot size, etc) were to be positioned 3 lots away, there is a good chance the view is significantly changed or eliminated all together.  Some homes face West toward the ocean… while other homes face toward DTLA.  A home that is tucked deep into the canyon may only look across canyon at a neighbor, greatly eliminating privacy and desirability, which significantly affects value. 

Another phenomenon in this particular area that I sell is an area known as the “Bird Streets.”  Homes in the “Birds” bring a huge premium due in-part to the number of celebrities that reside in the neighborhood.  This area is arguably the hottest area in the US for celebrity owned real estate (Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Jodie Foster and Keanu Reeves.)  Zillow has no clue of this realty-reality and is typically, significantly off the mark when it comes to values in this area. 

The specific details of your home as compared to the features of homes that have recently sold are the critical details that must be considered to determine value.  Selling a home in Los Angeles can be compared to selling fine art since each home has such different characteristics, material finishes, architecture and style. 

Bottom line is… Zillow estimations of value or “Zestimates” are a very inaccurate way to determine the value of your home.  If you’re considering putting your home on the market, call or text me at 310.721.1835 for a complimentary home value analysis.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

Have a question or comment? Send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.