How to Increase Your Home's Zillow Zestimate

Updated on June 10, 2018
Rock_nj profile image

I have always had a keen interest in real estate valuations I find Zillow's Zestimate to be intriguing and worthy of understanding.

How to increase your home's Zillow Zestimate is a question that many home sellers ask before listing their homes for sale. Whether it is fair or not, homebuyers look at a home’s Zillow Zestimate to gauge the true value of the home. Although there are other independent measures of a home’s value, including Zillow’s rival Trulia’s estimate and independent home appraisals, a home's Zillow Zestimate is considered by many buyers to be the most reliable gauge of a home’s value. What home sellers need to know is that increasing a home's Zillow Zestimate is not difficult. What Zillow often lacks is accurate up to date information about a home, which can cause Zillow to calculate a Zestimate for a home that is lower than it should be due to a lack of information about what the home actually has as far as amenities. Luckily, this information is something you can easily provide to Zillow to potentially increase your home's Zillow Zestimate.

Increase Your Home's Zillow Zestimate

Tips Regarding How To Increase Your Home's Zillow Zestimate
Tips Regarding How To Increase Your Home's Zillow Zestimate | Source

How To Increase Your Home's Zillow Zestimate: The Power Is In Your Hands

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 then look up your home. Once you have found your home on Zillow, claim it as your home. Once you claim your home, you are free to update the amenities within and around your home, add a description of your home, what you like about your home, and even what you believe your home is worth.

Make Sure You Check Off All of The Amenities

Read the list of amenities that Zillow provides carefully and check off boxes that apply to your home. Be sure you do not miss anything, as each amenity will factor into the Zestimate for your home. You can further describe any amenities in your description of your home. For example, Zillow has a check off for attic. You can check it off and then use your description of your home to describe the condition of your attic. For example: “The attic has plywood and a pull down ladder that provides ample extra storage space.”

Tailor Your Description To Meet Your Buyer’s Needs

In description of your home, think like a buyer and tailor your description to suit their 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. For example: “Located only five minutes from the local train station. Also, a commuter bus has a stop approximately one-quarter mile away.” Other than that, the description should emphasis things that buyers look for in a home, such as: remodeled bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, stone countertops, a fenced-in yard, and terms such as “move in ready” or “in a great area for families,” if the statements are applicable.

Get Creative About 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 a half-block away or a beautiful view from your home, make sure you emphasize that when describing what you like about your home. 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 view of the back of another home. Get creative regarding what you like about your home. You can even mention amenities in your area, such as shopping or entertainment, as they can help sell people on buying your home.

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 for your home. You do not want to list your home for sale at a price higher than what you publicly state on Zillow what you believe your home is worth. Be realistic when considering what you believe your home is worth. 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 realistic value for your home.

Avoid Exaggerations Regarding Your Home

Be honest when updating your home's Zillow information. While it is tempting to exaggerate a home’s amenities, any exaggerations could turn off potential buyers or even lead to a lawsuit if someone purchases your home and finds the information provided to be inaccurate. If you have a nice home, describing any amenities accurately should be all you need to attract buyers. Keep in mind that Zillow’s Zestimates are not updated instantly, and it could take weeks or months for any changes you have made to be reflected in the Zestimate for your home.

Why It Is Important To Update Your Home's Zillow Information

While there are no guarantees that adding additional information to the Zillow page dedicated to your home will result in an increase to your home's Zillow Zestimate, providing additional information certainly cannot hurt. If amenities that exist in your home, such as a fenced in yard or hard wood floors, are not selected in Zillow, then in most cases Zillow will assume you do not have them and will likely reduce the Zestimate for your home. You also want potential buyers to see all the amenities your home has to offer. While the description of your home and what you like about your home sections on Zillow may not directly impact the Zestimate, they could impact potential buyers’ decisions to look at your home and ultimately to buy your home.

Of course, it is also important to list your home for sale on Zillow once you have updated the information. Many people in the market to buy a home will fly over a neighborhood they are interested in buying a home in. When you list your home with Zillow, a red symbol of a home will appear on your property, which alerts buyers that your home is for sale. They can then click on the red home symbol to see the Zillow page for your home that includes the detailed information about your home that you provided. Make sure that those potential buyers have plenty of information about your home, so they form a positive opinion and want to contact their realtor to view your home in person.

Zillow Zestimate Poll

What Do You Think of Zillow's Zestimate?

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What Is a Zestimate?

Understanding the Zillow Zestimate

Questions & Answers

  • Zillow did not put a value on my 600-foot workshop building. Since this is a building worth $50,000, it should be added. What should I do?

    Contact Zillow. This is an example of one of those quirky things that the Zestimate is not good at picking up on, i.e., adding the value of a property. They have no idea what condition it is in or if it is a functional building, so they may be either ignoring it in the Zestimate or giving it a valuation that is much less than the value it actually adds to your property.

  • My home is brand new and the Zestinate is 80k below the appraisal. Why is this?

    Zestimates do not usually take into account appraisals since most are not part of the public record. Zillow will have to digest data regarding what similar homes are selling for in your area to make an adjustment to the Zestimate for your home. If they sell for close to your appraised amount, then theoretically Zillow should adjust the Zestimate higher.

  • We had an official appraisal for an equity loan, and it is $40,000 more than the Zestimate. How do I get the Zestimate increased?

    Besides the suggestions I made in this article, the only other thing you can do is try to contact Zillow directly. I'm not sure if they can take a private appraisal into consideration, but it's certainly worth trying. Ultimately, if similar homes in your area start selling for prices close to or above the appraised amount for your home, then the Zestimate should eventually increase to that level.

  • 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.

© 2013 John Coviello

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    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      4 months ago from New Jersey

      I agree Marina that the Zestimate can be problematic and inaccurate. As I pointed out in this article, it overlooks some of the things that add value to a home. If they are comparing single-family homes to townhomes, then that is certainly problematic, since townhomes often have association fees and a lack of open space (like a yard), which can negatively affect a home's value.

      But, the reality is that many people (for better or worse) use the Zestimate as a gauge of home values, so everyone might as well try to increase their Zestimate as best they can. Ultimately, it is just once valuation measurement that should be considered, among many others. I think a well thought out price comparison by a licensed Realtor is the best method to truly gauge a home's valuation.

    • profile image

      Marina Epsteyn 

      5 months ago

      I believe this website caused harm to the buyers and sellers. The problem is that most of consumers are not RE professionals and do not understand the difference between the actual appraisal and Z estimate. Zillow estimates are inaccurate and, thus misleading. I looked at my home and found that Zillow uses townhouses for the comparable of my single family home, this is unprofessional and unethical! I also found, that exactly the same model home in my subdivision located 0.2 ml distance from my house, is showing absolutely different value and trends. No more comments.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      8 months ago from Long Island, NY

      This is a useful article. I never thought of doing this before. Even though I’m not selling my home at this time, it’s still beneficial to keep the Zillow listing up to date. And as you said, to also include emenities that can provide a more accurate Zestimate.

    • profile image

      Andrew M Merkel 

      19 months ago

      Zillow estimates are terribly inaccurate. The algorithms which they use in their software program are too heavily based upon tax historical records from the local tax authority. Unfortunately, what is not taken into consideration are various homeowner tax exemptions for individual properties, particularly in California, where tax bases are reduced to particular awards of exemption. This often occurs in the case of military veterans who may receive an exemption for a disability.

      Zillow's algorithms do not adjust for this and, hence, cast a much lower value for a property accordingly. Zillow, thus needs to get ahead of the curve and offset their lowering a property valuation estimates based upon raw tax information.

      Don't hold your breath.

      A second major flaw is that Zillow does not use the most current records for making comparative sales of homes in a neighborhood. It is common knowledge by appraisers that comp sales generally should be within a half mile radius and have within the last 3 to 6 months...the most recent being applicable.

      I have seen numerous examples of homes closest to a subject property and very recently sold being ignored by Zillow's algorithms and replaced by homes that are more than a mile away and as with sales dates more than a year old, and this in a prescribed tract of homes with 5 models and all built in the early 60's.

      Best to hire an appraiser to get a SOUND EVALUATION.

      The Zillow estimates are subject to wild fluctuations and manipulations by the Zillow software. Further, the more information about upgrades to a property which are added to a properties information are worthless in increasing the value of a Z estimate.

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      19 months ago from New Jersey

      Cynthia,

      Last I checked, there is no way to add a bathroom remodel to your home's Zillow profile. If you built a new bathroom, that could be added to your profile, which would likely increase your Zestimate, since this estimate is based on things like the number of bathrooms in a home and how it compares to similar properties.

      For those that have bad experiences, like Sharon, it is possible that Zillow was making assumptions about your home that were skewed to the positive and once you updated your information it took into account the actual situation that is not necessarily as positive as they were predicting it was. Another thing to keep in mind is to give it time. I've seen the Zestimate go through gyrations after changes to a home's profile is made, and eventually rise.

      Just check similar homes in your area to see if your Zestimate makes any sense. Sometimes it does not make sense, as Zillow seems to miss some of the less tangible aspects of a home, like a view or other amenities that affect property values.

    • profile image

      cynthia 

      21 months ago

      I've just remodelled my bathroom. How do I add that fact to my zestimate?

    • profile image

      Sharon 

      24 months ago

      I updated my home's information, checked off amenities, etc., and the Zestimate dropped by $10K! Completely inaccurate and doesn't reflect any updates at all. Thank goodness most buyers understand the Zestimate is nonsensical.

    • profile image

      bob 

      2 years ago

      I've seen zestimates skyrocket just as soon as a house goes up for sale, the RE agent doesn't like the true zestimate, so they up the value substantially which is about what the new asking price is.

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      4 years ago from New Jersey

      It looks as though it took 3 months for the updates I made to the Zillow listing for my home to be reflected in my Zestimate. I made the updates in Jan 14, and just now in Apr 14 my Zestimate spiked higher by $11,000. I looked at houses around me to see if it was an area-wide adjustment higher, and that does not appear to be the case. It appears that Zillow took my updates into consideration and adjusted the Zestimate higher after I added more details about my home and property, as predicted in this article.

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      4 years ago from New Jersey

      If you are thinking of selling your home anytime soon, it would be a good idea to learn as much as possible about Zillow's Zestimate, because like it or not, many home buyers use it as a measuring stick regarding a home's actual value. It can be frustrating if one's home gets a low Zestimate. But, as I point out in this Hub, there are things that can be done to increase one's home's Zestimate. I wonder if those that are upset about their home's Zestimate have done anything to fill in the blanks with Zillow, so Zillow can properly value their home?

      Personally, I've found Zestimates to be very close to the fair value of homes in my area. Trulia, by comparison, provides higher home valuations that are appealing to home owners and sellers, but do not often reflect what homes sell for (which is usually quite close to the lower Zestimate).

      Thanks for reading!

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 

      4 years ago from Louisiana

      I hadn't heard of a Zillow Zestimate before.

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