Can You Really Trust Zestimates?
Today we are talking about a topic we get a lot of questions about: Zestimates. Zestimates are Zillow’s automated home value system that will tell you what your home could sell for in the market. Is this the best way to determine value, and should you trust it? The answer is maybe, but it might not be a good idea.
Zillow themselves have disclosed that their Zestimates can be anywhere from 5-15% inaccurate. They use a basic algorithm to determine value that takes into account square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms, but not much else. They also use sales data from their site, but that is often inaccurate as well.
So please don’t look at your Zestimate as the exact figure your home will sell for. To truly determine your home’s market value, you need to hire an agent who has boots on the ground and understands what buyers are looking for.
There are a lot of things that go into determining your value that aren’t calculated in Zillow’s algorithm. Things like absorption rates, inventory, and interest rates can all change from one price range to the next.
With that being said, there are a lot of agents out there that don’t have a ton of experience. It’s easy to get your real estate license, but it’s much more difficult to get to the point where you have the experience needed to accurately assess the value of the home. Agents should do a pre-appraisal to get yet another valuation for your home.
So, be careful on Zillow, and don’t make your decisions based on that valuation. If you have any questions for us or are looking to buy or sell, give us a call or send us an email today!
The Best Place To Start Your Home Search
Today, we'll discuss how to effectively and efficiently start shopping for your next home. After you're pre-approved and have your criteria figured out, what do you do?
There's nothing wrong with taking a Sunday afternoon drive in an area where you want to live and start calling the Realtors on the For Sale signs. However, that's not the most effective way to go about your home search, and with the price of gas these days, it can be very costly.
Most people begin searching online, using sites like Zillow or Trulia. While these sites provide a lot of information, I recommend using your Realtor's home search site. The Realtor's site will have a live feed to the listing service.
Other sites just give you a snapshot of homes on the market at one point in time, and don't update often enough. Some properties listed on Zillow or Trulia actually sold two and a half years ago! If you want to use the most updated and accurate resource, use your Realtor's website.
When looking for a home, you also need to know if it's a buyer's or seller's market. It's extremely important to understand the dynamics of the market you're in so that you know what to expect in your own transaction. A seller's market has low inventory, and the seller has more power. A buyer's market has high inventory, and the buyer has more control of the transaction.
The last thing I want you to keep in mind is to never write an offer until you see a market analysis from your agent. Don't assume that the seller has priced their home based on current market dynamics. Some listing agents go along with whatever the seller wants to price the home for just so the agent can get a listing. You want to make sure the home is priced correctly so you don't overpay.
If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!
The First Step In The Home Buying Process: Getting Pre-Qualified
Have you ever wondered what the first step in the home buying process is?
Before you even start looking at homes, the first thing you need to do is get pre-qualified. The process is simple! Just give us a call, talk to us about what you want to do, and then we will take your personal information, income, and assets to figure out what kind of loan you will qualify for.
A pre-qualification is different from a pre-approval.The pre-qualification is more of a preliminary step. A pre-approval is when the we go through and verify the information you provided during the pre-qualification.
The documents you need to provide to the lender include 30 days worth of paystubs, your W-2s from the last two years, two years of tax returns if you have investment income or are self-employed, bank statements from the last two months, and a photo ID.
The whole process lasts about 30 days from getting approved to taking the loan to closing. You may even qualify for more than what you can afford. We allow you to borrow as much as our guidelines will allow, but that might be more than you can afford. Budget out your monthly mortgage payments in order to know what you can actually afford to spend on a home.
As always, questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. We look forward to hearing from you!