Is Zillow a good place to get quick Comps?

4 Replies

I am very new to all of this, and I was wondering, short of bugging a real estate agent (whom I just met) every 10-15 min about a property that I found online, is Zillow a good place to get a quick and easy (not to mention free) comp? For instance, I found a foreclosure for $25,000, went out to look at the property and from the outside, I could tell that there were no indications of foundation problems, could use new shingles (but no need for whole roof rebuild), new windows and probably air-conditioning repair(10-15,000). I looked though the windows (as Im sure everyone does) and the carpet looked in good condition and walls and ceilings looked clean and sturdy(10,000 est). I looked on Zillow and the neighboring houses were going for 65-70. Now at this point I got on the horn with my realtor and said set me up with a looksee and when I did, he told me that the property had already closed that day...never got a comp (well a real one anyway). Just wondering if this was the right thing to do, or was I headed up the proverbial creek with eyes wide shut. Thanks for your time and patience.

I would create your own search in zillow looking for recent home sales in the area. If Zillow has records of transactions taking place in the last 90 days or so, it should be in the right area. I should be looking at what houses have sold for nearby and not what they are appraised at(Zestimate). Correct? Should I be looking at price per square foot, or just similar 3bd 2ba houses with similar square footage? Thanks for the reply.

Hey Todd,

Stay away from the "Zestimate" for certain. Zillow actually took this feature down a year ago or so because they got sued for having comps that were so far off. They have since "recalculated" their formula and they claim it is more accurate, but they are still considerably off on most homes in my area.

Also, comps should only be recently sold homes, as this is the only true way to determine value, what someone else was willing to pay. People can list homes for whatever price they want, but actual sales data is all that matters.

When first starting out do your best to find as close of comps as possible, as only more experienced folks should be making serious adjustments to comps, because they can place an accurate value on that extra bedroom or bathroom.

Lastly, I would encourage you to work with your Realtor, and run some of these comps through them. They will get paid when you buy, so you might as well use them.

Great advice Mike... thanks for the reply. I guess I will stick with bugging my Realtor friend.

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