You Got Your Atlanta Georgia Home Value From the Internet??? Say It Isn’t So

The article that follows is a story about why you should not rely on online Real Estate aggregator such as,, or even to give you a price for your home.   If you want to save some time, skip the article and contact us at Homes By Ursula.  We sell real estate everyday in the North Metro Atlanta Georgia market and understand our local market conditions and what it takes to get your home priced correctly and sold.

And now, on to the story:

Computers and the Internet have changed the way we live.  They have changed how we communicate, how we get information, even how we buy and sell what for most people is their most valuable asset – their home.   It doesn’t seem that long ago that we had face to face relationships with other people.

A family would sit around the dinner table and have an actual meal and talk about the day,  what happened at school or work or maybe even neighborhood gossip.

“Did you see the new family moving in down the block?”or “Did you hear that The Smith’s are being transferred across country?”

Now, you see folks tethered to their device of choice.  Constantly bombarded with electronic chatter.  Ding!  Here’s a photo of my lunch…Ding! My life is more wonderful than yours and I have no problems!  Ding! Ding! Ding!  It seems that we give little or no though to the information being put in front of us.  How many times have you heard, I read it on the internet?…so it must be true.    How many time have you read something online or in a post or social media update and accepted it as fact? Only to find out later that the information you relied on was completely wrong.

If you are trying to sell your house, or buy a house in Metro Atlanta today, chances are good that you have started looking on the internet.  It’s ok to admit it…everyone does it.  But how good is the information that you’re getting.  Sure looking at photos of houses online gives you an idea of the interior, the yard, or some other special feature of a home but it doesn’t always give you the rest of the story.  The same is true with some large, national website that claim to give you an estimate of your home’s value.

Homes By Ursula sold this home for more than Zillow Zestimated

Zestimate for this home at $187,022. It Actually sold for $195,000.

I imagine that I can hear the whirring and spinning of disks processing bits and bytes of data at some centralized data center in parts unknown.  There must be some giant bank of computers gathering information from all over the web and calculating a value for my house.   This value has to be accurate, I mean I got it from the internet…so it must be true…right?

Zestimate had this value at $165,000.  It Sold for $203,000

Zestimate had this value at $165,000. It Sold for $203,000

Conyers Georgia Home for Sale

Zestimate Value this Home at $93,775 Recent Appraisal is $110,000

Well, not so fast.  You see if you dig a little deeper and scroll all the way to the fine print, you know, the print that is barely visible even if you were viewing it with the Hubble Telescope, usually at the very bottom of the page in what I like to call the attorney zone of the page, go ahead look for it, you will see a link that explains what a Zestimate® is and how accurate a Zestimate® is.  As defined by Zillow, as Zestimate® is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. The Zestimate is calculated from public and user submitted data; your real estate agent or appraiser physically inspects the home and takes special features, location, and market conditions into account.

The Zestimates® are based on an Algorithm. This is the same one used in Washington state & Washington DC, in California & Georgia & New York. Do you really think that the same thing applies to every single place the same way???

Hmmmmm.  Ok, well how accurate is this proprietary calculation?  In the Metro Atlanta area, Zillow indicates that they are:

  • within 5% of the sale price 38.8% of the time,
  • within 10% of the price 64.3% of the time, and
  • within 20% of the price 84.6% of the time.

or as stated by a representative of the big Z, 60% of the time they are up to 40% accurate“…. WHAT???? 

So let me get this straight.  If I am selling my house and Zillow tells me it is worth $300,000, 84.6% of the time they will be within 20% of the price.

Brief math interlude….please enjoy the music.  Oh that means that Zillow estimates my price at between $240,000 and $360,000 or a margin of $80,000.

Now I ask you, if you were a home buyer using Zillow, you would be fully prepared to offer $240,000 for the house, right? Or maybe less because as all buyers know, only a sucker pays list price.

On the other hand, If you were selling your home, you would not take a penny less than $360,000 because after all, Zillow said that they may be off by as much as 20% of the price more than 15% of the time and you don’t want to lose money.

Now Imagine what would happen if you received an offer of $240,000 on a home that you think you can sell for $360,000.  Not a happy thought, is it?

Folks, listen, use the internet, talk to you friends and neighbors, look at the pictures of their most recent meals look at pictures of houses, but when you are ready to buy or sell a home call the North Metro Atlanta Residential Real Estate Specialist, Call Ursula Lowther at Homes By Ursula.



If you or someone you know are thinking about buying or selling Real Estate in the Metro Atlanta, Georgia area, Please call us at 678.825.4428 or visit our website at
Keith and Ursula work to understand your motivation and your goals when you are ready to buy your next home or sell your current home.We work to ensure that the sale of your home happens smoothly and for Top Dollar. At Homes by Ursula, we understand that clients come first and your complete satisfaction is our main goal. Don’t choose the wrong Real Estate Agent – Make the Right Choice – Choose Homes By Ursula!

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