Zillow Rent Estimates

12 Replies

I'm looking at my first SF rental investment property and I was wondering how accurate the monthly rent estimates are on Zillow, anyone have any experience with this? I think they seem reasonable but I'm not sure. Thanks!

I could be wrong on this but I believe Zillow feeds primarily from the local MLS and since most leases aren't transacted through the MLS the number could be inaccurate. I would suggest aggregating rents from a few sources (craigslist, local paper, rent.com, zillow) to give you a broader and hopefully more accurate view of youe local rents.

I haven't found them to be very accurate. But, I do use Zillow to look for comparable properties in the same area to help determine the rent to charge. That works pretty well.

Ditto what Michelle Na says.  I find them rather high.

@Mike Moles try Rentometer.com, it will give a wider view of rent rates in your area.

Thanks all for the feedback, Michelle Na I did a search for rentals and the Zestimates do seem fairly close at least for the area where I looked. My guess was that is how they determine the Zestimate.

Actually this is what I just found on Zillow:

What is a Rent Zestimate?

A Rent Zestimate (pronounced ZEST-ti-met, rhymes with estimate) is Zillow's estimated monthly rent price, computed using a proprietary formula. It is a starting point in determining the monthly rental price for a specific property. The Rent Zestimate is pulled from public property data and similar local properties listed for rent; there may be special features, location, and market conditions our algorithms have not taken into account. Variations in rental price can also occur because of negotiating factors, special incentives, and length of lease. We encourage renters and landlords to supplement Zillow's information by doing additional research such as:

* Talk to a local real estate agent, or property manager that specializes in rentals
* Compare rental to other nearby apartment and homes for rent on Zillow
* Visit the rental (whenever possible)

So I will plan to use these estimates as a starting point as they say but of course do more research to verify them and to include them in my analysis before I make the investment.

Thanks for the additional source of data @Victor Ortiz .

Zillow will give you ballpark rents but aren't totally accurate. Contact a local Property Manager, they can give you accurate rents on the ones that look good.

I've found http://www.rentometer.com to be very accurate in the Cleveland area. It's able to successfully identify more / less desirable blocks and streets, which happens a lot around here. 

I don't have any current contacts with property management companies and when reviewing the likes of Craigslist, SmartZip and Rentometer, I'll sometimes get a small range, around $200, wish is great, but other times, the range is larger, around $800-$1000.  

What's your go-to here, just go with the lowest number?

I've seen Zillow estimates to be all over the place, low in some places and high in others. I think it's just one of several sources to consider when making a rent decision.

Zillow will put you in the ballpark.. Call other rentals, check the local classified and CL..In my area an affordable 3br 1 bath rents for $700-750..It can be lower or higher depending on the property/location, amenities, etc....

In my area zillow estimate is WAY off. It sayd the house would rent for $925 where in reality it rents for $1600, same for rentometer and other caluclators. I personally would be very careful! I like using zillow to compare other list houses.

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