As one of the top real estate websites in the country, Zillow plays an important role in our industry. On the one hand, it’s a good source for Los Gatos real estate trends. On the other hand, it isn’t so good at providing accurate value estimates or up-to-date information on homes for sale.

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Why is Zillow not as accurate as people expect?

For starters, Zillow gathers some data from tax records and some data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). While the MLS is the true, accurate market for real estate data, tax records are not a reliable source for home evaluations. For instance, sales that occur off market, such as inter-family transfers, cause property to sell for less than full market value. **This skews the data enough to make the Zestimate nothing more than a broad estimate. **

If you’re trying to sell your home in Los Gatos, Willow Glen or Saratoga, Zillow isn’t going to be much help getting an accurate value estimate. Zillow’s algorithm only accounts for things like bedroom and bathroom count and the square footage of the property in relation to the particular neighborhood’s market values. If you’ve made gorgeous improvements to your home - marble counter tops, new cabinets, etc. - they won’t be factored into the Zestimate. This could cause your home to be undervalued by as much as 10-15%.

If you are looking to buy a home, you need to know that Zillow’s data is typically delayed anywhere from 24-72 hours. At best, Zillow is a convenient starting point. Once you have your feet on the street shopping for a home, it’s time to hire a local expert. We’re here to help with real-time market information and listings.

As always, give us a call if you are looking to buy or sell a home in Los Gatos, Willow Glen or Saratoga, or anywhere in the Silicon Valley area. We would be happy to provide you with the most updated and accurate information.