Better than Zillow

I just discovered the new makeover of the Yahoo real estate home values page. I like the way they now show three, count ‘em 3, online home value estimates. The estimates come from Zillow.com, eppraisal.com and Reply.com. That’s a big improvement.

The biggest problem with Zillow is that people think it’s estimates are gospel. They’re not. Zillow.com has a large margin of error.

By putting the Zillow.com estimate next to the other two estimates, I think the average Joe will quickly realize that these online home value estimates are wacked.

I can tell people, for example, that “For Phoenix Arizona, 28% of their ” Zestimates” are off by 10 percent or MORE.” For most people, however, that’s hard to visualize. (The average reader of this blog, on the other hand, is a numbers person and understands the significance but, alas, most people are not like you.)

I think, however, its a lot more powerful for people to see the three estimates together and how variable they are. For example, I just checked three homes and one home is estimated to be worth $413,058 by Zillow.com, $453,906 by eppraisal.com and $547,052 by Reply.com. That’s a $134,000 swing on one home!

Most people will immediately see that these online home value estimates are just ballpark estimates. I hope they will give less credence to Zillow.com’s estimates or any of the online home value estimates.

The estimates are fun but don’t take them too seriously.