For many Homeowners, Zillow is the first place to go to check on their equity. For Buyers, they look at the Zestimate when making offers to purchase as some gauge of home value. For us Realtors, we see the Zestimate and cringe, knowing that it is almost never accurate and that even Zillow says to consult a real estate professional when assessing home value. While Zillow has access to data, not all of the data collected and crunched is going to get into the nitty gritty of all of the features that make up a home's value, including condition. Still, we've got to hand it to them. Zillow recently improved on their Zestimate by 13% by offering a million dollar prize to whoever could improve on the existing Zestimate to make it an even more valuable tool for everyone. Hats off to Zillow and the contest winners who put in many many hours to win this coveted prize.

If you intend to sell your home and want a true estimate of your home's value however, don't accept the "Zestimate" as the final word. Many unquantifiable factors go into establishing the appropriate price entry point, including your personal situation and needs. Only a real estate professional can help lead you to that number so that you don't start too low and leave money on the table. Starting too high could also cost you if you chase the market down through a series of price reductions. A thing in motion tends to stay in motion and if you have to reduce the price because you started too high, you sometimes blow right past fair market value before attracting a buyer. Pricing is not an exact science, but we have been trained to help you get as close as possible to obtaining the right price for your home based on your home's unique features and your needs, something that Zillow cannot see.