Zestimate in Idaho

Home Value: Why Zestimates miss the mark in Idaho

If you are thinking about selling property in Idaho, I plead with you: please, PLEASE do not use the Zestimate tool as an accurate or reliable source when finding your home’s value. Likewise, if you are a buyer and you see that homes are priced well above that Zestimate value on Zillow, please understand that should be expected—especially in states such as Idaho.

Zestimate = Zillow + Estimate. Definition of estimate: A ROUGH or APPROXIMATE calculation. Why does this calculation completely miss the mark in Idaho? Let me explain…

Idaho is one of 10 “non-disclosure states.” In a non-disclosure state, there exists no legal obligation to publicly disclose the sale price of a property. Now, how does this pose a problem with Zillow Zestimates?

Zillow.com states “Zillow uses a sophisticated neural network-based model that incorporates data from county and tax assessor records and direct feeds from hundreds of multiple listing services and brokerages.” Zillow also claims that their Zestimates are within the median range of 1.9% accuracy for homes listed on the market.

Sounds like a pretty great source of your home’s market value, right? Well, unfortunately, it’s just not reliable in our neck of the woods. Due to non-disclosure, county information does not include sale prices for properties in Idaho. Without sale prices, it is virtually impossible to calculate price per square foot and the value of other features of any property. Appraisal calculations use the sale price of comparable properties recently sold within the last 3 months, when calculating the subject property’s market value. Without that price, it just can’t be done.

Zillow even gives their Zestimates an accuracy ranking by county, with 1 star being “unable to compute,” and 4 stars at “Best Zestimate.” Guess where ALL counties in Idaho rank on that chart? That’s right: 1 star. Zillow is unable to accurately compute our home and property values.

Don’t mistake me though: Zillow has many other great attributes. Some of these are its user-friendly format, assistance in connecting buyers with local real estate agents, and locating rental and For Sale by Owner properties, to name a few.

Are you now wondering where you can find accurate values for your home or land upon learning that Zillow is out? Your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the only available source of accurate home value information, as sales history and prices are listed within this system. Your local real estate agent has access to this data, and can supply you with a complete Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).

If you are in need of a no-cost, risk-free, and low-pressure market value analysis, or maybe you are just curious to know your property’s value in the current market, reach out to Kaila Treto at (208) 242-2288 or [email protected]. It is my absolute pleasure to research comparable properties with you as well as discuss listing and sales strategies to best serve your needs.