Is the Zillow Zestimate Accurate in Rural Areas?

Pittsboro NC Real Estate Agent Eric Andrews discusses the Zillow Zestimate.

The Zillow Zestimate calculates the estimated price of a house based on nearby sales. While this works OK in subdivisions and populated areas with many recent comparable sales, it does not work great in rural areas.

In North Carolina, people may stay in rural homes for an extended period of time. Land is not all created equally. And there are a very wide variety of types of homes, builds and restrictions which make the prices of homes vary drastically. A 2000sf house on 5 acres could be a totally different price than another identical property a few miles away.

Speaker 1: Does the Zillow Zestimate work for houses in rural areas?

Speaker 2: It does not. So what that estimate does is it takes into account, it looks at your property and it looks at all the homes that have sold in the area. So when we have a home that sells in a cute little neighborhood in Carrie, well, chances are within the last few months, not only do we have a home in the neighborhood, but it’s probably approximately the same age. It’s probably nearly the same square footage. It could even be the exact same floor plan. So, I mean, in those situations, the comps are very, very valuable. But in a rural area, if we take, for instance, the area of Moncure. Well Moncure, we have three and a half thousand square foot homes, 10 years old on 10 acres and with a barn and a pond and everything.

And so that comes in and Zillow, the Zestimate is throwing into the same blender, the single wide on five acres that’s 32 years old that sold for $75,000. So you have what probably is somewhere between a half million and a million dollar property thrown into the same blender with a $75,000 property. It’s just the numbers just go all over the place. Sometimes they’re really high. Sometimes they’re really low. Sometimes they’re close, sometimes they’re spot on, but it’s the luck when they’re spot on. It’s just because there’s just not the data. So you’re going to get bad results in rural areas. And in Chatham county, you need to go to an agent that has experience and knows the market.