Trulia or Zillow? Which is Better at Estimating Property Values?

Q: Trulia or Zillo? Which is better at estimating property values? Rich, Lakewood, NJ

A: The amount of information, resources and tools available on Trulia and Zillow is enormous. Regrettably, the accuracy of the information on Zillow & Trulia often leaves much to be desired.  Trulia & Zillow use algorithms, to approximate property values.  Algorithms are mathematical formulas used for solving problems.  Unfortunately, the property values that these algorithms produce are not consistently accurate.

Here are three major difficulties with Trulia, Zillow and other public property search portals:

1. Their information Is Inconsistent

Trulia and Zillow, by their own admission acknowledge that their estimates are wrong a large percentage of the time.  So the risk is that a home buyer or seller may base their decisions on flawed information-yikes!

2. Their Information Is Old & Out Of Date

Zillow and Trulia do not have the most up-to-date property listings.  This time lag could mean you’ll miss out on real estate deals in your area particularly if your real estate market is hot.

3. Agents Are Featured On These Portals Because They Pay Not Because Of Their Experience Or Skill Set

The real estate agents that Zillow and Trulia feature all paid to be profiled.  Essentially, the right to be displayed was ‘purchased’ by the agent without any regard to their local knowledge or experience.

In general, Zillow and Trulia are appealing to consumers because they are convenient.  Convenience is important, but accuracy is more important when you buy real estate-you need to protect yourself so you don’t overpay for property.  After all, a bank isn’t going to lend you money based on a Zillow Zestimate!  Caveat emptor.

Thanks for your question, Rich—-good luck.

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