What’s the Most Accurate Home Value Website? Here’s How to Find Your Best Fit (2023)

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Whether you’re considering a particular home to buy or you’re just snooping around fancy neighborhoods, you’ve probably used a home value website at some point. The internet has made it easier than ever for curious onlookers to find out more information about real estate — without necessarily having to talk to a real estate agent, appraiser, or mortgage lender first.

There are, however, a lot of sites out there with numbers to share! How do you actually know which is the most accurate home value website?

Well, spoiler alert: An algorithm-driven website is never going to be a substitute for a real-life expert. But home value websites can be an interesting starting point and — let’s face it — once our browsers figure out that we’re looking at homes for sale, we’re going to see related ads in everything from our Instagram feeds to the advertisement sidebars on your preferred news outlet.

To learn more about which home value website is the most accurate, we spoke with real estate professionals and took a deep dive into the research behind these platforms.

Scroll on!

What’s the Most Accurate Home Value Website? Here’s How to Find Your Best Fit (1)

How do home value websites actually calculate value?

As you’ve surely assumed, there’s no live human on the other end of home value websites manually updating the database for every recorded property on a daily basis.

Instead, values are calculated by automated valuation models, or AVMs. These models are complex algorithms that generate values based on lots of different data — everything from online property records to pricing trends to recent sales of similar properties.

“Valuation websites typically base their numbers on public and user-submitted data,” says Kansas City property appraiser Nick Stoddard. “The information is taken from multiple listing services, county and tax assessor records, and real estate brokerages to provide an estimated value.”

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Stoddard cautions that while home value websites can be viewed as a next-best option, they’re definitely not as accurate as an appraiser who uses real-time, hyper-local information.

And while AVMs may utilize regression analytics to help adjust for differences between square footage otherwise comparable properties, they don’t take into account upgrades or renovations that a homeowner may have completed.

“These sites rely on generic data, like square footage, number of rooms, and value of similar homes,” says Stoddard.

“Let’s say you upgrade your basement after purchasing your home, or replace the carpet with hardwood flooring — home valuation websites don’t factor in those upgrades due to how their algorithms are designed.”

How is accuracy measured on home value websites?

Valuation accuracy is measured using something called an “error rate,” which is exactly what it sounds like: A calculation of how often the algorithm gets it wrong.

In this context, the error rate refers to how frequently the AVM calculates a value that is markedly different from the actual sales price of a home.

There are countless variables at play when it comes to determining the final sales price of a home; most notably, the market conditions at the time of negotiation, and the personal circumstances of both buyer and seller.

Buyers with deep pockets and an eye for what they want may be up for paying whatever it takes to make a particular home their own, while a seller with a rapidly approaching relocation date to another state or country may be eager to sell as quickly as possible.

No two homes or transactions are identical, so 100% accuracy — from any website or human — is actually kind of impossible. That’s why we’re usually shown a median error rate.

For just a second, let’s go back to statistics class. Remember the lesson on mean, median, and mode?

  • Mean is another term for the average, which is calculated by adding up all the numbers and dividing by how many numbers there are.
  • Median is the middle point in a range of data that has been arranged from smallest to largest.
  • Mode is the number that occurs most often in a data set, and sometimes there may be more than one mode.

So, the median error rate of a home value website essentially shows the middle point of how “wrong” the AVM was in either direction — whether estimating too high or too low.

But median doesn’t tell the full story

Zillow is among the most popular home value websites, and its Zestimate for on-market homes (meaning, homes that are currently listed for sale) has a median error rate of 2.0% as of February 2022. This is pretty good! And bonus points for the company’s transparency in explaining how their models work.

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When viewing their nationwide statistics, you’ll see that the Zestimate gets within 5% of the sales price 82.2% of the time. It’s within 10% of the sales price 95.1% of the time, and within 20% a whopping 98.8% of the time.

This all sounds pretty dang accurate, right? And if you’re just skimming numbers without involving a real estate professional — Zillow isn’t a bad place to start.

But when you consider how many thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars that a 5% to 20% variance can comprise when we’re talking about the sales price of a home, that median error rate can start to feel uncomfortably elastic. In fact, if you’ve studied recent home sales for just a couple of days, you could probably guess within 20% of the sales price on your own.

This being said, the Zestimate’s nationwide median error rate of 2.0% adjusts again when examining specific metro areas.

In Atlanta, Charlotte, and Colorado Springs, for example, the median error rate is 1.7%.

This error rate is even lower — just 1.5% — in Denver, Nashville, and Raleigh.

But take a look at markets like San Francisco and Seattle, and the Zestimate median error rate for on-market homes is more than 3%.

And it’s a whole different story for off-market homes

Zestimate’s median error rate jumps up to 6.9% for off-market homes, which — admittedly — isn’t surprising given how much AVMs rely on current data. If a house isn’t for sale and hasn’t been recently sold, there’s simply less available of-the-moment information from which the AVMs can pull.

Nonetheless, this means that the Zestimate for off-market homes is within 5% of the sales price just 39% of the time, and within 10% only 63.8%. Even guessing within 20% of the sales price only happens 84.7% of the time.

Looking at the Pittsburgh metropolitan area in particular, the off-market Zestimate error rate is 10.2% — well above the 6.9% national average — and only guesses within 5% of the sales price 27.5% of the time.

But we can cut a little slack for inaccuracies with off-market homes; there’s a solid lack of new information. And, unless you’re going to knock on someone’s door with a cash offer, if a house isn’t on the market, its sales price probably doesn’t matter right now anyway.

What’s the Most Accurate Home Value Website? Here’s How to Find Your Best Fit (2)

Why is there so much variance in home value accuracy?

Put simply, there’s a lot of variance in everything when it comes to real estate.

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AVMs are based both on data and how similar homes are to each other, which is why online home valuations might be inaccurate due to missing details — such as upgraded flooring, a renovated kitchen, or updated bathrooms. Similarly, homes that are either exceedingly luxurious or uninhabitable fixer-uppers tend to be outliers that are tough for AVMs to value accurately.

Valuations can also be incorrect due to unique (and often unchangeable) differences about the home in question or one of its comps. A lakefront home compared to one that is landlocked, for example, or a house with a basement versus one on a slab foundation with no basement.

Neighborhood consistency is also a big factor in the accuracy of home value websites — the algorithms work best in neighborhoods where the homes are as cookie-cutter as houses can be. It will be much easier for an AVM to calculate value for homes in a new-construction development with minor differences between properties than in a longstanding subdivision with unique homes that may have been built decades apart.

All of these variables are further skewed when there’s a general lack of data in the first place. Rural areas can be difficult even for appraisers and real estate agents to price out — how do you draw comparisons when there isn’t much to compare to?

“I had a rural client a few years ago, and their home value was way off on a Zestimate,” says Amber Carlton, a real estate agent with ten years of experience in Fargo, North Dakota. “They had a very large home, and in that particular area, it’s the smaller homes that sell at a more affordable price point. The algorithm numbers weren’t accurately reflecting what their home would be worth, and they didn’t understand why they were getting such a low estimate.”

Carlton was ultimately able to explain to her client that the estimate was based on a computer model and didn’t accurately reflect the value of their home, but the story stuck with her as an example of how alarming AVM inaccuracies can be — for both homeowners and prospective buyers.

Basically, anything that might put a home in the “long tail” of error will contribute to inaccuracy from an online valuation model.

What’s the Most Accurate Home Value Website? Here’s How to Find Your Best Fit (3)

So, what ARE the most accurate home value websites?

As we’ve noted, Zillow is both popular and, all things considered, relatively accurate — at least when you’re searching for the value of an on-market home. The 1.9% national median error rate is currently the gold standard among consumer websites.

Redfin is another top-ranking home value site, and their median error rate for on-market properties is 2.23%.

Realtor.com offers home value estimation, but the company doesn’t share details about algorithm performance.

Trulia, meanwhile, has a page explaining how Trulia Estimates works — but at the time of this writing, the link to the accuracy report does not work.

Chase, Re/Max, and For Sale By Owner also have their own home value estimators, but they too lack the transparency of Zillow and Redfin when it comes to explaining valuation accuracy.

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Bearing all this in mind, are home value websites worth using?

Like most things in life, moderation is key. These sites can function well as a reference point, but you probably shouldn’t use any of them to strategize your financial future.

“It’s fine to look so you can see where price ranges are coming in, but always keep in mind that it’s only an algorithm,” says Carlton. “You really need to look through the homes in person — or at least look through photos online — to see what each home has that the other does not, to get a more accurate idea.”

For the most accurate idea of what a home looks like — and to find out what it’s really worth in current market conditions — your best bet will be to call in the help of an expert. Working with a great real estate agent is your ticket to finding the perfect home for your budget regardless of what home value websites say, but sometimes you’ll find a helping hand in the form of another homebuyer.

Similar to other valuation websites, HomeLight’s own home value estimator also uses the power of an AVM — but we take things a step further by contacting people and companies who are ready to buy a home in your area, and we ask them what they would be willing to pay for a particular home, providing a real-time assessment of value.

What’s the bottom line?

Above all, remember that even the most accurate home value website could change depending on the specific house.

Value is more than just square footage and an address — everything from a home’s condition to its unique characteristics is a factor, and there are many things that an AVM simply can’t know.

Some websites do have better, more up-to-date data in certain cities or states than others, so it doesn’t hurt to cross-check home value websites if you’re tempted to poke around. And remember that a value estimator that includes a human’s input will likely be a better fit for helping you assess a house, especially if it’s off-market.

But until you’re walking into a house with a buyer’s agent at your side and a mortgage lender ready to help you through the homebuying process, remember Carlton’s advice while pursuing home value websites:

“Keep in mind that it’s an algorithm, and take it with a grain of salt.”

Header Image Source: (Kari Shea / Unsplash)


What is the best website to find the value of your home? ›

Zillow is the best overall home value estimator available. It is user-friendly and requires no log-in details. Its home value estimator is called the Zestimate, which provides an approximate value for your home based on public and user-submitted data.

Is Zillow or Redfin more accurate? ›

Redfin's home value estimator is more accurate than Zillow's when it comes to pinpointing the sales price. According to Redfin, its estimates are approximately 74% accurate within 5% of the sales price for listed homes. By comparison, Zillow is only 67% accurate within 5% of the sale price for listed homes.

Is Zillow pretty accurate for home values? ›

Zillow's Zestimate has been found to have a nationwide error rate of 1.9 percent for on-market homes. When it comes to estimating home values for off-market housing, the error rate jumps to 6.9 percent. Overall, Zestimate accuracy is between 95% and 96%, so it's pretty accurate in most cases.

Is realtor com or Zillow more accurate? ›

Realtor.com is arguably the most accurate real estate listing platform today. It is affiliated with over 580 regularly updated MLS databases across the U.S. Realtor.com also operates in more regions than Zillow and Redfin simply because it's been around for longer, that is since 1996.

How do I find the exact value of my property? ›

However, a thorough assessment is beneficial in finding the right price of your property. Add the adjusted and final sale price of all three comparable properties and find their sum. Divide the sum by three to get an average adjusted final sale price. This amount is the estimated market value of your house.

What is the most accurate house price index? ›

The FHFA HPI serves as a timely, accurate indicator of house price trends at various geographic levels. Because of the breadth of the sample, it provides more information than is available in other house price indexes.

Why is Zillow estimate higher than Redfin? ›

The Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.3%. The Redfin Estimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 6.94%. “The accuracy for an on-the-market home is better because we have more up-to-date information,” said Rao. “The typical home information may be out-of-date.

How close is Zillow to appraisal? ›

How accurate is the Zestimate? The nationwide median error rate for the Zestimate for on-market homes is 2.4%, while the Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.49%. The Zestimate's accuracy depends on the availability of data in a home's area.

Why is there such a price difference between Zillow and Redfin? ›

Zillow has higher real estate commissions.

This is a consistent practice among Realtors, with 3 percent designated for the listing broker and 3 percent going to the buyer's agent. Because Redfin is a brokerage as well as a listings aggregator, commissions can be as low as 1 percent of the selling price.

Why does Zillow underestimate home values? ›

If your home has more value-factors (bigger square footage, better condition, more amenities, etc) than the comparables that are pulled, then your Zestimate is likely to be lower than actual value.

When appraisal comes in lower than offer? ›

If the purchase agreement contains an appraisal contingency, the buyer is protected in the case of a low appraisal. If the buyer can't get the seller to adjust the price or come up with the difference in cash, they can walk away from the sale with their earnest money deposit returned to them.

How accurate are home value estimates on Realtor? ›

The fact that major online calculators may be working from incomplete data means that home value estimates may be off. But it isn't by much. Redfin strives to deliver estimates that are within 3% or less of a home's selling price. Zillow even goes as far as to list their median error for top housing markets.

Do people use Redfin or Zillow? ›

Zillow is the most popular home buying website because it's available throughout the U.S. and includes lots of details on off market properties, while the Redfin app only displays listings in select markets. However, better options exist if you're looking for a low cost realtor or want to earn a home buyer rebate.

Is MLS better than Zillow? ›

If you are able to view the MLS in your area online directly, you will only see properties that are currently active on the market. This makes the MLS more accurate than Zillow, which frequently keeps properties listed as available long after they have been taken off the market.

Which app is better Zillow or realtor? ›

Zillow's app wins best overall because of its extensive inventory and scope across the United States. Its efficient features allow users to share a prospective property with their partner or roommate, and renters can even begin the application process for a new home via the app.

What index monitors the housing market? ›

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) is based on a monthly survey of NAHB members designed to take the pulse of the single-family housing market.

Which price index is the most popular? ›

Some examples of how it is used follow:
  • As an economic indicator. The CPI is the most widely used measure of inflation and is sometimes viewed as an indicator of the effectiveness of government economic policy. ...
  • As a deflator of other economic series. ...
  • As a means of adjusting dollar values.
Jan 18, 2023

What does CoreLogic predict for 2023? ›

The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices will decrease on a month-over-month basis by 0.1% from January 2023 to February 2023 and increase on a year-over-year basis by 3.1% from January 2023 to January 2024.

Are Zillow estimates overpriced? ›

The Zestimate is often less accurate than your Realtor's estimate and can be thousands of dollars off. According to Zillow's Zestimate page, “The nationwide median error rate for the Zestimate for on-market homes is 1.9%, while the Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.5%.

What is the big difference between Zillow and Redfin? ›

In a nutshell, Redfin is a real estate brokerage as well as an iBuyer (instant home buyer) that purchases homes directly from sellers in select states. Zillow is an online real estate marketplace where people can browse listings and connect with agents who advertise on the site.

How do I get my Zillow zestimate higher? ›

5 ways to improve your home's Zestimate on Zillow
  1. Claim your property. Your home's “Zestimate” is Zillow's best guess on market value. ...
  2. Make sure the square footage is correct. ...
  3. Consider for sale by owner. ...
  4. Add 3D home, download Zillow 3D home app and add a virtual tour. ...
  5. Email Zillow at this super-secret address.
Mar 13, 2021

Why is my appraisal so much lower than Zillow? ›

Bidding wars. In competitive housing markets where there are multiple bids on a home, buyer demand can push the price beyond what an appraiser determines it's worth. Appraisers work off historical data and their appraisal must be based on recent sales of comparable homes in your area.

How often do appraisals come in low? ›

How often do home appraisals come in low? Low home appraisals do not occur often. According to Fannie Mae, appraisals come in low less than 8 percent of the time, and many of these low appraisals are renegotiated higher after an appeal, Graham says.

Is Redfin estimate close to appraisal? ›

The Redfin Estimate is highly accurate, with a current median error rate of just 2.18% for homes that are for sale, and 7.04% for off market homes. This means that when a home that is currently on the market sells, the Redfin Estimate will be within 2.18% of the sales price half of the time.

Why is Zillow estimate so much higher than realtor com? ›

This is another frequently asked question from home sellers and buyers. The main difference between Realtor.com home values and Zillow Zestimates is that Zillow uses its own program to create a Zestimate, while Realtor.com uses several 3rd parties to provide multiple home values.

Why is my home value so low on Redfin? ›

What Can Cause Errors in a Redfin or Zillow Home Value Estimate? A common reason for inaccurate estimates is outdated information. For example, if you have made major additions or renovations that don't show up in the data that Redfin or Zillow have collected on your home, then their estimates may be too low.

Are Zillow prices negotiable? ›

You may negotiate a three percent price reduction when an agent working for you could have gotten you five. Or you may not negotiate for any seller-paid closing costs when the current market standard is at least half. Whether or not you work with an agent, it's smart to research the property and the market.

Is Redfin home value accurate? ›

The Redfin Estimate is highly accurate, with a current median error rate of just 2.18% for homes that are for sale, and 7.03% for off market homes. This means that when a home that is currently on the market sells, the Redfin Estimate will be within 2.18% of the sales price half of the time.

What online site gives estimates of home values? ›

Zillow is a great starting point for determining your home's value. Both their website and mobile apps are accessible and easy-to-use. Whether you're looking to sell, buy, or rent, they also offer additional resources and information if you want to take the next step after getting your Zestimate.

What sites tell you how much something is worth? ›

Try sites such as What's It Worth to You, Value My Stuff, and Worth Point. If you're searching for the tax-deductible value of items that have been donated, you can use valuation sites, tax preparation companies (such as Turbo Tax) or the Salvation Army.

How accurate are Trulia estimates? ›

How Accurate Are Trulia Estimates? Trulia Estimates are identical to Zillow Zestimates because both websites use the same data. The only difference is that Zillow Zestimates show both on-market and off-market properties, but Trulia only shows off-market estimates.

Is Quantarium accurate? ›

The Quantarium Valuation Model (QVM) provides the most current and accurate property valuations to a broad spectrum of customers, including lenders, mortgage banks, brokers, originators, servicers, insurance agencies, and appraisers.

How does Zillow predict home values? ›

The Zillow Home Value Forecast is based on a statistical model using a variety of economic data. The model takes into account economic and housing data that might have an impact on future home values. For example, a lower mortgage rate reduces the cost of owning a home, which in turn raises the demand.

Is there an app to take a picture of something to find its value? ›

Coinoscope mobile app makes coin identification and valuation easy – just snap a picture of a coin with your phone camera and the app will show you a list of similar coins. Fast and accurate. A must-have tool for every coin collector and numismatist!

How do I get something valued? ›

The best way to get your antiques valued is to approach a professional auction house. A reputable expert at an auction house will have lots of knowledge and years of experience in the antiques industry, so they are well placed to give you an accurate estimate of an item's value.

How do I find the best value for money? ›

6 methods for evaluating value for money
  1. Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CE Analysis). ...
  2. Cost Utility Analysis (CU Analysis). ...
  3. Cost Benefit Analysis. ...
  4. Social Return on Investment (SROI). ...
  5. Rank correlation of cost vs impact. ...
  6. Basic Efficiency Resource Analysis (BER analysis).

Do appraisers use Zestimate? ›

Appraisers don't use Zillow or other online evaluation technology for just this reason. Most of the online engines can only give you an average of data in an area and unless there are a lot of sales of the same type of homes, their estimates can be sharply incorrect.

How much can you trust Zillow estimates? ›

How accurate is the Zestimate? The nationwide median error rate for the Zestimate for on-market homes is 2.4%, while the Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.49%. The Zestimate's accuracy depends on the availability of data in a home's area.

What's the difference between Zillow and Trulia? ›

Zillow and Trulia are real estate databases that offer for-sale and rental listings and connect people with listing agents. Zillow provides users with a highly graphic experience when searching for properties, while Trulia has a simpler website design.


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