How reliable is this function on Zillow?

When I go to the default home page, you’ll note (2) open boxes towards the top of the screen…one for street address…the other for city/state or zip.

Yesterday I must have tried at least 5 property searches and none of them generated a hit within Zillow’s database. I’m beginning to wonder if my computer’s configuration has something to do with it.

I just use this as a benchmark before getting some comps…

Anybody got suggestions on how to better zestimate…or is this just par for the course?


The Zestimates are simply an educated guess based on public information run through some Zillow algorithm. It’s less reliable than a drive by. However, what I do find useful is that from Zillow’s map view you can see other nearby properties that have SOLD and click on them to get the sold price. Zillow will provide date and price of sale and sometimes other pertinent information.


Yes, it does provide that. However, it is not always accurate. There are times when it can be close, and then other times when it is way off. I wouldn’t put any stock in it.

For a nationwide database there are sure to be some errors. Plus, I’m assuming Zillow simply reports the information it finds from public sources and of course, that can be wrong or misleading OR the price reported to the local courthouse is not fully disclosed (I’ve seem some prices on courthouse deeds listed as “$10 and other good consideration” reported as a $10 sale price).

But your point is well taken. We all need to know markets intimately to estimate a properties true valus.

Actually, when I asked about it’s reliability I wasn’t referring to the numbers it comes up with…

I was having problems with getting it’s search function to even work.

Have since, figured and found it was a config prob with my computer.

I think it provides an excellent first barometer for the neighborhood before putting keys in the ignition and doing a drive-by.



I’m a computer geek at heart and would be interested in the details of your problem and solution. I run a linux distribution and use both firefox and konqueror as browsers.



You need to put in a street address AND the City, State AND/OR Zip for it to work… It’s not just filling in one field. On all of these database search sites, it’s the same…

www.cyberhomes.com (engine used by Help-U-Sell - provides COMPS)
http://www.homevaluebot.com/hvb5/dukeufcu.aspx?lk=100-200-000-100265 (Wachovia uses this one)

All of these sites notwithstanding, the best strategy would be to develop a relationship with a realtor, and get CMA’s from them, and doing drive-by’s. However, I am finding these sites useful in giving me a base (I use three of them consitently because of the public data available from them) as to whether or not to continue looking at a property and asking my realtor for a CMA, saving them time.

I wish there was a way, aside from becoming a RE agent, of accessing the MLS. You would think there would be a way for investors to access the MLS, and the MLS could develop another income stream. I’d be happy to pay a monthly fee in order to streamline the process, and not have to wait on a realtor… :smashpc

There are ways to access the MLS for listed data… Expired, sold and pending I am not certain… Although I did find a company in Denver who SOLD expired listings and they did it with the blessing of the local Board.

Years ago the National Association of Realtor mandated that local boards create what is called a VOM ( Virtual Office Member) different from IDX, as a virtual office they have the ability to allow you access to the MLS…

Zip Realty and Home Gain may still allow you access… The key is that you have to agree to be an “Active” home buyer…

Check them out…

I looked up one of my NC homes on zillow…138K
Same house on Cyberhomes…160K

you could also give www.trulia.com a try. it will give you tabs for ‘houses for sale’ an ‘houses that have sold’


Yeah, you’ll find differences, which is why I use it as a base starting point and use the realtor to hone in on the details (CMA) after a drive-by… dig a little deeper on these sites and you’ll also find the tax assessor value and most of the times when the house last sold and for how much.

FYI, Cyberhomes is the engine that Help-U-Sell uses and you can find value, last sold, comps, etc.

I like the Cyberhomes figures better.

One thing to keep in mind is that it usually picks up sheriff sale transfers in the average of a property value. Here in Ohio there are a ton of sheriff sale transfers going for 65% of the property value…because no one is bidding. I also like to use it for the recent sale prices (which I can validate using the county website).