As a Dallas Relocation Realtor, I love Zillow for the fact that it connects home buyers and sellers with great Realtors who can help them with all their realty needs (check our stellar Zillow reviews if you’re looking for a Realtor!). Not only can you research and compare Realtors, Zillow lets you dip your toe in the home shopping experience before you dive in. You can compare homes in different neighborhoods, get a feel for what you can expect in your price range, and narrow down where you want to begin your search. Zillow is indeed a helpful, transparent tool for the consumer.
But You can’t rely on Zillow’s data
However, buyers need to keep in mind that Zillow is simply a tool—one that will never replace the value of a competent, consultative Realtor. Why?
The main reason is that Texas is a “non-disclosure” state; meaning that when a property is sold, the actual sold price is not made available for public record. If you want to know what a house actually sold for, you need to call a Realtor. As a Realtor, I can look up that information for you in our MLS system. When we input a home into the MLS and that house sells, we’re REQUIRED to report accurate sold information. Here is a chart about the accuracy of Zestimate from Zillow from their website:
As you can see in the highlighted row with red border, Zillow actually confesses that only 30% of homes have the Zestimate that is within 5% of actual sales price! It means that 70% of homes have the Zestimate which is inaccurate by more than 5% from the real value of the home.
Another big reason that buyers need to be aware of: Zillow’s information is often inaccurate and outdated. Many a times potential buyers will call us about a specific home they found on Zillow only to hear, “Sorry, that home has already sold.” (We probably get at least one call like this every day!) Only Realtors have access to the Dallas Multiple Listing Service (North Texas Real Estate Information System - NTREIS) , which provides up-to-the-minute and complete home listing information.
Findings from a 2015 data quality study conducted by real estate brokerage Redfin quantified Zillow’s shortcomings:
Zillow contained only 79 percent of all current homes for sale.
The median delay between when a home was listed on the MLS and when it appeared on Zillow was seven days.
36 percent of homes listed on Zillow were no longer for sale.
Realtors add a lot of value to the home shopping experience
Although Zillow has made some strides in improving its data since this study was published, it still does not replace the expertise of an experienced Realtor. After a thorough assessment of your needs, an adept Realtor will recommend neighborhoods, search high and low (through the MLS, via relationships with other Realtors and even door-knocking) for homes that meet your criteria, help you find a home that will hold its resale value, negotiate a fair price and guide you through closing the deal. In short, we’re there to help you every step of the way!
So, go ahead—check Zillow for listings to get an idea of what’s available. For more accurate and up-to-date information, we invite you to do your research on our site, NitinGuptaDFW.com. Our listing information comes directly from our local MLS, and it’s updated every 15 minutes. Better yet, give us a call. We’ll schedule you a buyer’s consultation with one of our buyers’ agents and help you get the ball rolling on your home search!
P.S. You might be wondering about Zillow’s home valuations, or “Zestimates.” Well, those aren’t accurate either. Read more here. (In the meantime, check our site for a more accurate home valuation.)
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If you are interested in relocating and moving to our great city of Dallas and need help finding a home, I would appreciate the opportunity to help you. A REALTOR with CRS & GRI designations - highest in the real estate industry - I have lived in Dallas metro area for over 14 years. Since many of my clients are relocation buyers, I have all the tools you need to help your home search. Whether it is video previews of homes, extended work hours, digital signatures for documents or more, I can make this process as comfortable as possible no matter where you are located.