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Zillow is both a fantastic and horrible website.

Fantastic - I wish I had invented it. Its brilliant. Its really not there for homebuyers, but there for everyone who owns a home and is curious about what it is worth. Scratch that. Its there for people who are curious about what their friend's homes are worth. Its voyeuristic.  "Sally lives in a $5 million home!?" "Danny's home isn't worth squat." As a friend once described it, Zillow is Real Estate Porn. I wish I had invented it. Its a fun site to play around with.

Horrible - The data and valuations on Zillow are compiled and created by a computer program in some other area of the world. It doesn't come visit your house. It doesn't know about that new kitchen you put in. It doesn't know about the basement that flooded yesterday. By definition, the valuations are NOT GOOD! They are not there for you to get a precise idea of what your house is worth (ask a realtor), they are there for fun. In many cases the computer program pulls the wrong tax records or closing statements from your town's own system (probably the town's fault though), so in addition to the calculation not being perfect, the data going into the system is off.

Have fun using Zillow. I admit, I have played around with it. But if you want to get a true understanding of what your house is worth, ask a couple realtors.


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