How to Increase Your Home's Zillow Zestimate
Before listing a home for sale, many sellers ask themselves how they can increase their home's Zillow Zestimate. The online real estate marketplace is more popular than ever, so whether it is fair or not, most modern buyers are going look at a home’s Zestimate to gauge its true value. Although there are other independent measures of a property’s worth, including valuations by Trulia, Zillow’s rival, Zestimates are considered by many to be the most accurate and reliable expression of a home’s value.
What many sellers don't know is that increasing a home's Zestimate is not difficult. Zillow often lacks accurate, up-to-date information about a property, which can cause the site to calculate a Zestimate that is lower than it should be. Luckily, it's easy to add missing information to your Zillow listing and potentially increase your home's Zestimate.
5 Ways to Boost Your Home's Valuation on Zillow
The power to increase your home's Zillow Zestimate is in your hands. The first thing you need to do is go to zillow.com, create a free account, and look up your address. Once you have found your home on Zillow, claim it as yours. Once you've claimed your home, you are free to update the listing with the various amenities within and around it, add a detailed description of what you like about it, and even provide an estimate as to what you believe it is worth. Once you've claimed your home, follow these five guidelines to ensure your Zestimate is as high as it deserves to be.
1. Make Sure You Check Off All of the Relevant Amenities
Read the list of amenities that Zillow provides and carefully and check off all of the boxes that apply to your home. Be sure you do not miss anything, as each amenity will factor into your home's Zestimate. You can describe the amenities you've checked off in more detail in the description of your home.
For example, Zillow has a checkbox for attics. If your home has an attic, check this box off and describe the condition of your attic in detail in your home's description. You could say something like "The insulated attic provides ample storage space and can be accessed easily with a pull-down ladder."
2. Tailor Your Description to Your Buyer's Needs
In the description of your home, think like a buyer and tailor your description to suit a buyer's needs. For example, if you assume most of your potential buyers will need easy access to commuting options to get to work, then emphasize how convenient your home is for commuters.
You could say something along the lines of "The house is only five minutes from the local train station, and a commuter bus has a stop approximately one-quarter mile away." Other than that, the description should emphasize things that buyers look for in a home, such as remodeled bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, stone countertops, and a fenced-in yard. It's also a good idea to use terms like "move-in ready" or "in a great area for families" if these statements are applicable.
3. Get Creative With What You Like About Your Home
In the "what you like about your home" section on Zillow, describe amenities and other things about your home that may not be readily apparent to potential buyers. For example, if there is a park half a block away or a beautiful view from your home, make sure you emphasize it when describing what you like. Buyers with children may like the fact that there is a park within walking distance. Other buyers may be looking for a home that has a nice view instead of a window that faces the back of someone else's house. Get creative and mention any useful resources in your area. Proximity to things like shopping and entertainment centers can help sell prospective buyers on a home they are considering.
4. Be Realistic About What Your Home Is Worth
If you are going to put a value on Zillow in the "what you believe your home is worth" section, make sure it aligns with your asking price. You do not want to list your home for sale at a price that is higher than what you publicly state it is worth. Be realistic—many people naturally tend to think their home is worth more than it actually is. Take a few moments to see what homes of similar style, condition, and size have sold for in your area recently and formulate a fair and realistic value.
5. Avoid Exaggerations
Be honest when updating your home's Zillow information. While it is tempting to exaggerate certain amenities, any untruths could turn off potential buyers (or even lead to a lawsuit if someone purchases your home and finds the information you provided to be inaccurate). If you have a nice house, describing its advantages accurately should be all you need to do to attract buyers. Keep in mind that Zillow’s Zestimates are not updated instantly, so it could take some time before the changes you have made are reflected in your home's Zestimate.
Why Is It Important to Update Your Home's Zillow Information?
While there are no guarantees that adding additional information to your home's Zillow page will result in an increase to its Zestimate, it certainly cannot hurt. If features that exist in your home, such as a fenced-in yard or hardwood floors, are not selected in Zillow, the site will assume you do not have them, and your Zestimate will suffer.
You'll also want potential buyers to be able to see all of the amenities your home has to offer. While the description of your home and what you like about it may not directly affect its Zestimate, they will certainly impact potential buyers’ decisions about whether to consider your listing in their home-buying process.
It is also important to list your home as "for sale" on Zillow once you have updated the listing information. Many people in the market to buy a home will "fly over" a neighborhood they are interested in moving to. When you list your home as "for sale" with Zillow, a red house symbol appears over your property on their map to alert buyers that it is available. Buyers can then click on the red home symbol to see the Zillow page that includes the detailed information that you've provided. By keeping your listing up-to-date and thorough, you increase the likelihood that prospective buyers will form a positive opinion of your home and contact their realtors to view it in person.
What Do You Think of Zillow's Zestimates?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Will listing remodeling and updates on my home increase my property taxes? Home is currently off the market.
In most jurisdictions, simply remodeling shouldn't affect your property taxes right away. However, if you have a tax reassessment done and an inspector sees the improvements they will likely increase the value of your home, thus increasing the property taxes on your home.Helpful 4
If my agent didn't make the appraisal of my home, would that decrease my chances of getting a good appraisal or Zillow Zestimate?
An appraisal is best done by a professional appraiser who does not have an interest in the sale. An agent can run comps and provide you guidance, but that is not an appraisal, it’s just guidance.Helpful 3
My house estimate on Zillow went down $100k suddenly for. The house is not for sale. And this sudden drop only happened to my house in the neighborhood. What could be the reason?
Wow! I'm sorry to hear that the Zestimate for your house went down by 100K. What is that percentage-wise based on the overall value of your home? I would look into if there have been any recent sales in your area that have been below market and are being used by Zillow to determine the value of your home. I don't know why it only happened to your house. It could be that the other houses are valued based on other comparables based on their value and features, or it could be that they will soon experience a similar percentage drop.Helpful 12
We followed your instructions and every time we added something to zillow, they decreased our value. It is now so low it is affecting the sale of our home. We have emailed them and they refused to look at a bank appraisal or anything we had to prove the value of our property. Everytime we emailed, our zestimate got decreased the next day. It is now $30,000 below a bank appraisal that was done 5 years ago and we have added $20,000 in improvements. What do you suggest we do now?
Adding information to Zillow that makes your home more valuable shouldn't decrease the Zestimate. For example, if you have hardwood floors, but Zillow didn't know that, then adding that info should be a net positive for your Zestimate. I would look into whether there are other factors that are affecting the value of your home, such as comparable sales that they are comparing your home value to in order to calculate the Zestimate. Comparable sales are used by real estate agents to get an idea about what a home is worth, so I would assume Zillow puts a lot of weight into those numbers. Get a professional real estate professional's opinion regarding what they think your home is worth based on comparable sales and their knowledge of the local market and the improvements you have made. The good news is that it is not uncommon for homes to sell above the Zestimate, sometimes substantially above it. You just have to impress a buyer enough to get them to pay your asking price. If your renovations are impressive and you work with a good realtor who knows how to sell homes in your area, you have a good chance of getting your price.
For my home, the comparable sales don't always seem fair or consistent with what type of home I have, and I think it's worth more than the Zestimate, but I can't do anything about what sales they are using to compare my house to in order to come up with their Zestimate. Some areas that have high property have been hit quite hard by the recent change in federal tax law that limits how much State and local taxes one can deduct from their Federal taxes, and it has caused property values to fall as it has taken buyers out of the market or made people bid on lower-priced properties, since the cost of owning a home has essentially gone up in areas hit hard by the State and local tax deduction change. The area I live in has been hit by this tax change, with prices falling slightly over the past year and Zestimates falling as well.
Remember, you just need one buyer that really likes your home and is willing to pay up for it. The problem is finding that buyer. That's why finding a good real estate agent, who really knows your area and is committed to selling your home is extremely important. They can get the right people into your home to see how you improved it and understand that its worth what you are asking to sell it for. Don't hire a friend who is a real estate agent that works five towns over because you want to do them a favor. Hire someone in your town who has a really good reputation and the connections with other local agents to sell your home.Helpful 9
My neighbors property just was put on the market. I checked the zestimate and it was 625,000. She listed her property for $1.1 million and zillow even had on the zestimate. 4 days later the zestimate miraculously is at $1.1 million. Almost $400,000 more than my house which is larger, with a larger lot and 18 years newer. Why are there these price disparities on Zillow?
I'm not sure why Zillow suddenly decided to value your neighbor's home at $1.1 million. I have seen such dramatic increases in a Zestimate in the area I live in, but it occurs when a house has not been sold in many decades or has been completely gutted and renovated, and then is listed for sale at a much higher asking price than what it was previously worth. Was the home renovated recently? Perhaps there were some recent comparable sales that Zillow just factored into the Zestimate for your neighbor's home? It's hard to say, but it would certainly be great for your home value is this home sold for anywhere near $1 million because Zillow will factor that sale into Zestimates for similar homes in your area.Helpful 8
© 2013 John Coviello