How to Increase Your Home's Zillow Zestimate

Updated on August 29, 2019
Rock_nj profile image

I have always had a keen interest in real estate valuations. I like to figure out Zillow's Zestimate and Trulia's valuation are arrived at.

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.

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Understanding the Zillow Zestimate

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

© 2013 John Coviello

Comments

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    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      5 months ago from New Jersey

      It is true that Zillow tends to change its Zestimate based on a recent property sale price. Whether that's fair or not is debatable since a sale is an indication of a property's true value in many instances. However, that is not always the case. There are plenty of homes sell for below market value due to seller circumstances in which they have to sell immediately and are willing to accept below market value offers. Over time, Zillow should adjust the Zestimate to what the true value of a home based on comparable sales ("comps") and other factors.

    • profile image

      Rajarshi 

      5 months ago

      I bought a house listed for $250,000 - with a Zestimate very close to that. I bought it for $230,000 and the Zestimate immediately dropped. I find Redfin and Trulia more reliable and stable.

    • profile image

      Tina 

      5 months ago

      Thank you, John. I am grateful we have a good realtor. Zillow gave us a typical answer about their algorithms without explaining the sudden 10% drop. Very unfair and disappointing. Thankfully Trulia shows the original price we could direct people to.

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      5 months ago from New Jersey

      I'm sorry to hear that Tina. You can drill down a bit to see what comparable sales (comps) they are using to value your home on Zillow. Go take a look at that. It's possible that a similar sized home with similar features sold well below market and pulled your house's Zestimate down with it. That's not fair at all because there are many reasons why homes sometimes sell below market value since buyers are sometime desperate to sell for various reasons. Keep in mind that realtors will do their own home valuation based on comps. See what a professional relator has to say about what they think your house worth.

    • profile image

      Tina 

      5 months ago

      Hello! Our house Zestimate went down within a day from $424K to $382K, a 10% loss!! How could this happen? My husband updated the written description of our home three days ago in preparation for the sale to make it more appealing. Other than that, we have no idea what might have changed to justify this kind of price drop- this is so upsetting as we are ready to put the house in the market!

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      13 months ago from New Jersey

      Jessica - I don't know your specific circumstances, but Zestimates can be somewhat volatile. I've seen mine bounce around from month to month based on comp sales I assume. Give it a few months to see if it's regained the 12K loss. It could also be reflecting a turn in the real estate market with interest rates moving higher and some states being affected by the federal tax law changes that limit state and local tax deductions.

      Stefanie - I'm sorry to hear that. Look into the finer details regarding the comps they are using to value your home. If you dig down into your home's Zillow pages, you can find that information. It may reveal some features that are causing the difference in valuation between your home and similar ones.

    • profile image

      Jessica 

      14 months ago

      Why would my Zestimate have dropped 12000 in the last 30 days?

    • profile image

      stefanie 

      14 months ago

      I think zillow is terrible. It has my home valued approx.$80,000 less than other homes similar to mine have sold for. I believe it is going to cause me problems in selling my home. I contacted them and they said there was nothing they can do about it.

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      19 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 

      19 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 

      22 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Sharon 

      3 years 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 

      3 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 years ago from Louisiana

      I hadn't heard of a Zillow Zestimate before.

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