Author Topic: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?  (Read 19385 times)

ghaynes

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Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« on: July 25, 2013, 07:02:53 AM »
I've started tracking my net worth monthly and I am trying to get a value of what my home is worth and its a little frustrating since I'm getting a 15k difference between the two sites with Trulia estimating my home to be worth $15k more than Zillow.

So for the people that track net worth what site do you use for your home value? Not sure if I should take an average of the two or just stick with one.

mpbaker22

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2013, 07:38:41 AM »
I don't own a home, but neither of those is accurate.  They are maybe within 10% if you look at a typical suburban neighborhood.  If you live in an actual city or in a rural area, the estimates are off by even more, 50+%

risheeee

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2013, 08:10:14 AM »
I've never found either of their estimates to be particularly useful.  I look at the sale price of similar homes in my neighborhood that have sold in my neighborhood recently.  This still just gives me a ballpark number, but at least in my area it seems a lot more accurate than their estimates, which seem to be on the low end.

prodarwin

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2013, 08:25:27 AM »
I just bought a house a few months back.

Zillow estimate is 96% of the appraised value
Trulia estimate is 90% of the appraised value

MakingSenseofCents

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2013, 08:40:19 AM »
I have never really looked at Trulia, but I do know that Zillow is way off when it comes to my house/neighborhood. It says it's worth about 50% of what it actually is, when houses that are less desirable than ours have been selling for the "correct price. For example, it will say a house is $100K, when they actually sold for $200K.
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course11

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2013, 12:42:57 PM »
Zillow values our place at $26k less than we paid.

Trulia values it at $9k more than we paid.

We bought in Aug 2010 but both sites say it last sold in May 2011, for $1. I wish!

Tyler

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 02:58:12 PM »
Housing prices are relatively stable where I live.  For net worth purposes, I just assume the value of the house is what I paid.  When I sell I'll deal with the change then.  Anything in the middle is just an illusion.

Also, remember that some states (like Texas) have privacy laws that prevent sites like Zillow from tracking appraised values for individual homes.  So the values you see are merely based on average value per square foot for an entire neighborhood or region and nothing more.  You shouldn't read too much into them other than directional trends in overall housing costs over time.


Frankies Girl

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2013, 04:30:44 PM »
Can't find info on trulia, but zillow is within a few thousand on my house.

For my county, the appraisal district has a website where you can put in the address and pull up the tax assessed value of each home. You can see the last 5 years of tax records too. These are supposed to be based on the market price of the home. (I'm currently protesting mine since they just raised it 10% in one year after holding steady for the last 4 - ouch).

If you can find the average market price, you can also do a search of realtor sites to get the general market flavor. For my area, there is a realtor website that is the complete city and outlying areas and you can search by neighborhood. Check how long a property has been on the market (dead giveaway that it's priced too high).

But for the purposes of calculating net worth, it's probably best to just average the two sites (zillow/trulia) or do a sampling of what your neighbors trying to sell their houses are asking.
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ketchup

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2013, 06:07:26 PM »
Zillow claims the house I bought last year is worth $81k.  If anyone wants to buy it for that, let me know.  (I paid $18.5k and it's worth now maybe $25k at the absolute most.)

new2this

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2013, 06:41:17 PM »
The house we offered on appraised for 263,000 and zillow shows it for 240,000. Trulia just tells me similar houses are listed for 319,000. I don't think either option is accurate, just a rough estimate at best.

Sofa King

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2013, 06:48:41 PM »
I think Zillow is by far the better site and more accurate.

Rust

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2013, 06:53:49 PM »
I think the accuracy of these websites greatly depends on the number of comparable sales in your area.  Also another factor that increases the accuracy of these sites are localities who do tax assessments every year.

In my area the county re-assess the property yearly and I've found zillow and trulia to both be fairly accurate.  (without doing any scientific research I'd say they are within 1 SD of the mean)


Check out Zillow's explanation of their accuracy.
http://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracy.htm

Back to the old adage in IT.  GIGO (Garbage in Garbage out)



Rural

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2013, 08:46:38 PM »
Zillow doesn't know there's a house here, Trulia doesn't even know there's a trailer (though it's been there since the 70s, and Redfin can't find the address.

Michelle119

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2013, 07:20:21 PM »
Zillow values our place at $26k less than we paid.

Trulia values it at $9k more than we paid.

We bought in Aug 2010 but both sites say it last sold in May 2011, for $1. I wish!

If you redeeded it after you purchased it, it shows up as $1. I know since I bought before I was married, then we refinanced after being married and I deeded it over to my married name and it shows up as $1.

I use zillow to track the % it goes up or down. It goes off of a lower # of bedrooms and baths so its usually relatively close but for my house its off by about $20k and when I compare it to other sales when I bought it and when I sold it the % is roughly the same even if the amounts are off.

ozzage

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2013, 03:46:22 AM »
Average the two and use that figure?

Rich M

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2013, 06:21:23 PM »
I've started tracking my net worth monthly and I am trying to get a value of what my home is worth and its a little frustrating since I'm getting a 15k difference between the two sites with Trulia estimating my home to be worth $15k more than Zillow.

So for the people that track net worth what site do you use for your home value? Not sure if I should take an average of the two or just stick with one.

Your county property tax assessment is the number you need to use in your net worth calculation.  It's a standard that is based on how much money they are taking from you every year so it's a good standard because you and the county have a vested interest in making it approach the right value.   They determine a value and if you don't like it you can protest it.  It usually works in their favor of course but at least it's something you have feedback regarding and can correct if it's way out of bounds.  I probably don't need to say it but you do want your home worth the least according to the tax assessor!

Forget all those websites.  They just use some statistics that can be accurate in uniform neighborhoods and very inaccurate in ones with a lot of variation in home styles and types.  You are using similar statistics if you are trying to project your retirement and savings plan yourself.

When things are based on statistics, 10% accuracy is fantastic.


« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 06:27:51 PM by Rich M »
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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2013, 06:41:56 PM »
Hate to burst the bubble, but most assessors that do periodic revaluations are using "CAMA" or computer assisted mass appraisal.  That's very similar to what Zillow and Trulia are doing.  I would NEVER consider the assessed value in most jurisdictions as reflective of current market value.  Recent comparable sales, adjusted for differences between them and your property, are generally the most reliable indicators of value.

Rich M

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2013, 08:02:55 PM »
Hate to burst the bubble, but most assessors that do periodic revaluations are using "CAMA" or computer assisted mass appraisal.  That's very similar to what Zillow and Trulia are doing.  I would NEVER consider the assessed value in most jurisdictions as reflective of current market value.  Recent comparable sales, adjusted for differences between them and your property, are generally the most reliable indicators of value.
I thought the original post was about approximating the net worth, not about some exact value, so the house can be sold....But at least in most places, you can contest the valuation of your property with the assessor, whether you succeed or not!

I think my point is, It's foolish to WANT your home to be worth a lot just because it makes your net worth go up.  It should be posted in "share your badassidy" of how people contest the property tax increased on their home.  I try to keep my home value as low as possible!  I challenge every assessment.

My assessor uses comps from recently sold homes--and sure they might also use the CAMA as well if they have too for all I know.    I of course live in a bubble as I am told. 

Maybe the bottom line is, use the number that is the smallest!

« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 08:27:06 PM by Rich M »
-Ricardo

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2013, 09:26:10 PM »
Net worth is the market value of all of your assets minus the amount of any liabilities.   It's what you could sell the assets for, given full exposure to the market and reasonable marketing time, less the amount required to pay all debts.  It could be argued in the case of assets with high transaction costs such as real estate, an adjustment for the transaction costs should be applied.  For stocks and bonds, the transaction costs and marketing time are insignificant. 

Net worth has nothing to do with whether you choose to dispute the assessed value of property with your local assessor.

lisahi

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2013, 09:25:45 AM »
I have a year and a half-old independent appraisal of my house that values it at $173,800, which is what the bank used to approve my mortgage. Zillow values it at $167,902. Trulia uses the county assessed price for tax purposes, and values it at $161,790 (the county hasn't changed value of the house in 2 years). Although Trulia also gives you the average list and sales price of similar homes in the area ($225,536 and $193,875, respectively).

If you were looking to sell your home, Trulia seems to give you more information. I'm surprised that Zillow is as accurate as it is--this is new; Zillow used to have the house severely undervalued.

Since you're looking to figure your net worth, it's best to use an independent appraisal, but that costs money and ultimately wouldn't be worth it unless you were looking to buy or sell. The county's appraisal is hit/miss. Sometimes counties will play with numbers. Apparently, in certain areas this year, my county undervalued homes to give folks a break on property taxes. My home value stayed the same, though, and some home values were reduced for legitimate reasons (foreclosures in the area). When a county is trying to be accurate (which is the majority of the time), how accurate it is depends on how they go about appraising homes. In my area, it's a walk-by appraisal. There's not a lot of thought, and a lot of homes are valued at the exact same price simply because they are relatively close and have the same square footage. There's no factor for improvements and the appraisers have no idea what the house looks like on the inside, but it's the best they're able to do given the circumstances.

Ultimately, you may want to meet somewhere in the middle of average sales price in your area and whatever value the county has set for your home. If you've done a lot of improvements, you may want to skew higher; if your home needs a lot of work, you may want to skew lower.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2014, 04:44:44 PM »
I don't look at the estimates they offer. I periodically check just to see what houses are listing for, and what they (eventually) sell for.

When I see houses in similar condition to mine, I mentally note the $/sqft they sold for and figure that's what my current fair-market value is.

Zillow is $10K high, and Trulia is $20K high.
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sol

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2014, 06:01:18 PM »
When I see houses in similar condition to mine, I mentally note the $/sqft they sold for and figure that's what my current fair-market value is.

This approach has been productive for us, in privately determining value of houses we're considering buying.  The price per square foot (house and land, separately) is more useful than is the listed property value.  You can look through the pictures and get a pretty good idea of what sort of quality goes for what $/sqft number.

We've also been using estately.com a lot more recently.  It has less information about appraised values, but it gets new listings MUCH faster than anyone else when a property goes up for sale, and you can specifically search within any school district or other arbitrarily shaped area.  For house hunters, I find it the most useful of the sites currently available.

Fireman

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2014, 08:57:21 PM »
Zillow doesn't know there's a house here, Trulia doesn't even know there's a trailer (though it's been there since the 70s, and Redfin can't find the address.

Same for the parents.  Dad bought the house in the 70's and they've lived there since they got married.  Zillow doesn't even know it exists.

AlmostIndependent

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2014, 09:47:35 PM »
I can't find any rhyme or reason to the willow values. They tend to swing quite a bit in Alaska but sales prices aren't made public up here. I keep an eye on the market, I'm usually on the lookout for a new property. I usually just make a note of similar properties and what they're listed for. It's inexact to be sure, but thats what I do.
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thelamb

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2014, 01:46:56 PM »
The algorithms for both are going to take into account many different variables, including recent sales, neighborhood or city trends, and the information they have stored on your property.  They don't really have a great way to account for and calculate based on any sort of "niceness" criteria and are somewhat limited to things like # of bedrooms, sq. ft, type of parking, etc.  Not sure if they also factor in walk score or biking, though they probably should. 

I personally find both very useful to monitor basic trends and large ballpark figures.  For assessing net worth, you just gotta find the comps, start with location, then move roughly into sq ft, then look at the pictures and really compare the two.  Once you have a few that seem good, go with the price per sq. foot and run the numbers.  Obviously, recent sales are better than current listings. 

As far as which is more accurate, who knows.  Trulia has always reported a lower value on my properties than Zillow until literally a month ago when they flip-flopped.  Did the algorithm change?  Did one of the variables (like how they look at neighborhood trends) change and it has a different affect per algorithm?  Only the crazy programmers will know.  :)

ArcticaMT6

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2014, 02:41:16 PM »
Zillow is $5k over what I paid this summer, and Trulia is a whopping $82k over what I paid, which just ain't happening.

oldtoyota

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Re: Zillow or Trulia: Which one is more accurate?
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2014, 03:17:34 PM »
Why don't you just use recent home sales of similar homes in your neighborhood as a guide?