Zestimates are Great, but Merely a "Good Starting Point" in Your Home Selling Process

Market research has proven time and time again that the overwhelming majority of new homebuyers in the 21st century begin their property searches online.

With a larger number of millennials now entering the marketplace, this figure is as high as 87 percent in data reported by some organizations. We’re sure, however, that this comes as a surprise to absolutely no one in the “information age,” when pretty much anything you want or need can be found online with a simple Internet search.

We obviously have our own search pages on our own websites. Click the screen grab below to search homes that are currently on the market in southern Delaware.

But did you know that the Seattle, Washington, based Zillow Corp., has emerged as the top player in this lucrative market, even outshining the National Association of REALTORS' own Realtor.com website?

It’s true – Zillow has become the favorite site online for prospective home buyers in the United States, and we’re proud to say that the Oldfather Group is now a premier agent with the company.

Watch the Oldfather Group's featured Zillow video below.

In fact, Chief Executive Officer Dustin Oldfather was asked to speak to a group of top real estate leaders in Seattle earlier this year, personally invited because of his success in building a successful business right here at the Delaware beaches.

In short, the Oldfather Group has a solid relationship with Zillow, and that’s why today we want to talk to you about the company’s program for establishing real estate values online.

Called a “Zestimate,” this home valuation service provides an estimated market value of any home in the United States, which is computed by using a proprietary formula created by Zillow.

But we want to caution the public that this IS NOT an appraisal, nor should the figure obtained through this service be taken as gold. Even Zillow itself markets this program as merely a good “starting point” in determining the actual value of your home.

Calculated using public and user-submitted data, the Zestimate is a good figure to get the ball rolling, but you should still contact a licensed real estate agent before taking the next step. Local agents are intimately familiar with the area where they live and do business, and can assist you in determining the fair market value of your property.

Says Dustin Oldfather: “Our experience with the Zestimate program is that the figures are usually off by 7 to 12 percent, largely because of the way our tax records are kept here in Sussex County. You can certainly end up with some wild variations that are much wilder than in most other areas of the country.”

We’ve found that Zestimates can be quite accurate in metropolitan areas like Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia. But here at the coast, you need to be able to walk into the property and see if it has a great view of the water or, on the flip side, maybe has a chicken plant or something next to it.

In 2016, we find that Zestimates in Sussex County tend to be on the low side, but that hasn’t always been the case. During the recession of a few years ago, valuations were skewed just as much on the high side.

So really, the information we want to convey to potential sellers, as well as buyers, is that you should not use the number generated by the Zestimate program to write offers or market your property in any way.

Give us a call here at the Oldfather Group and let us help you before you move further along in the process. It’s what we do and it’s why we’re currently the top real estate firm in Sussex County in terms of buyer represented sales, and in the top five in most other categories.

It’s what we do and we would love to put our staff and our resources to work for you. As we like to say around here, “let us make your home famous.”

Have a great day everyone and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions and/or comments on this blog entry or on anything else pertaining to real estate in Sussex County.

Looking to buy a home in coastal Delaware? Give us a call at 302-260-2000, or visit our Search Page at theoldfathergroup.com to view homes currently on the market in coastal Delaware.

And if you've had any thoughts of selling your home, visit coastaldelawarehomesvalues.com to instantly learn your home's approximate value.

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