Too Much “Zest” May Not Be a Good Thing

Recently I sat down with a friend of mine and the topic of conversation turned to real estate.  She and her husband purchased their first home in Bucks County just about two and a half years ago.  Three beds, two baths, a nice sized corner lot.  All they would need to do is a few updates in the kitchen and it would be the perfect home for them.

Now, she would like to move on.  Find something else.  The reasons why are quite irrelevant.  However, her husband is not interested in putting this home up for sale and looking for their dream move-up home.  What has put this couple on opposite ends of the home-selling spectrum? says that their home is worth $17,000 less than they paid for it back in 2009 according to their Zestimates.

In the interest of full disclosure, I happen to be part of Zillow’s Premier Agent program, and I sincerely hope it is able to increase the amount and level of business that I do this year and in years to come.  That said, if you remove the “Z” from the front of “Zestimate”, what do you have?  An estimate.  A guess.

Now, it is a very highly educated guess with a very complex mathematical algorithmic base that I couldn’t begin to understand, but like any other equation, it is limited by the information it has to base its estimate on.  That new kitchen renovation that they did?  Who knows if that was factored in? And if everything in the Zestimate were true…I could sell my house today and walk away with $30,000 more than I paid for my Flourtown home back in August 2008.  Property values remain strong in Springfield Township, but I’m not too apt to believe that one either.  The standard deviation of error can swing both ways.

In a situation like this, all someone like myself can do is take a look at what’s for sale in the neighborhood, what has already sold (and why) and come up with my best professional opinion as to how much they could realistically sell their home for.  That is exactly what I did.  Do I believe they could sell their home for more than the Zestimate that her husband dreads.  Absolutely.  Will the house sell for enough for them to justify putting their home on a very saturated market?  That is for them to decide.

Meanwhile, while I was out sick the past few days, my wife had to represent for the both of us at a friend’s birthday party. Of course, the conversation turned to real estate (people do love to talk about it).  A mutual friend approached her and said that she was thinking of putting her home up for sale, but her husband was reluctant.  Three guesses why…

*             *             *

If you’re thinking about putting your home up for sale, but have been holding back because of your zEstimate, give me a call at 215-591-5676 or shoot me an e-mail at  I would be happy to take a look at your situation and go over your true options and offer you a professional opinion as to the worth of your home in this market.


About Joshua Stein

They say that owning your own home is a major part of living "The American Dream." I'm proud to be an active part in making that dream a realty for the good people of the Delaware Valley as a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Preferred's Conshohocken office. I am actively involved with the Brotherhood of Congregation Beth Or as well as a proud parent in the Greene Street Friends School community. I also served as Den Leader for my son's cub scout pack as well as a member of the Cub Pack 173 Committee in Flourtown, and now with Boy Scout Troop 665. Professionally, I also hold membership in the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and National Association of Realtors®. Whether you or someone you know and love are buying or selling your home, I look forward to servicing all of your real estate needs on the Main Line and beyond.

Posted on September 1, 2011, in Real Estate and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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