Home Buying in Katy>Question Details

Hy Park, Home Buyer in California

Compare seller's price and Estimated price in Zillow.com

Asked by Hy Park, California Thu May 8, 2008


We have not decided yet when we move to Texas. So I am just getting information including house prices and schools. Anyway, I tried to find houses in Katy, Tx through http://www.Trulia.com or http://www.Remax.com and compared the estimated prices in http://www.Zillow.com. Some houses in the market are very higher than the estimated prices in http://www.Zillow.com. For an example, one house is $450K in the martket but the estimated price is only $350K. Do you think this house is overpriced ?

So I'd like to know how much I can offer for that kind of houses if I want to buy one of them.


0 votes Share Flag Home Buying in Katy

Help the community by answering this question:


Since Texas is a non disclosure state. Meaning we do no report our sales to the government. Zillow and the site like it just have to guess. So they are usually not very accurate. I guess the best way is to get an agent to send you the info.
Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
Zillow is not an accurate way to judge values in any market. However, as is noted below, it has some additional limitations and problems in Texas.

At the bottom of this posting, I've put an answer that I wrote for another question regarding Zillow. Someone had asked whether Zillow comps (in a state where it is possible to get the right information) can be relied upon. Read my posting. Then try it yourself; don't just take my word for it.

So, before putting an offer on a house--any house--you need to know what its real value is. In your question, the house might be worth $450,000...or $330,000. If you put in an offer at $350,000, you might still be overpaying. Now, really, that's not the most likely situation. But you can't be sure.

Once you determine the house's real value, that's your ceiling--the maximum you'll pay for the house. Then make an offer at or below that amount. A Realtor can provide guidance.

Hope that helps.

Here's my recent Zillow post:
No. Zillow isn't particularly reliable for any market.

Here's the text of a posting I wrote a few days ago. This dealt with a different area of the country, but I've done the same "test" in a number of different areas--Colorado, Virginia, etc. Each one comes out the same. Zillow produces a number, but when you look at what it considers "comps," they aren't. I invite you to try the same thing.


If you think that Zillow provides consistently reliable estimates of a property's value, then do a couple of Zestimates. I can randomly select a typical property in a typical neighborhood and most of the so-called "comps" aren't comps at all. Let's try it. You game?

I plugged in "89449" in Zillow to bring up some homes in Zip code. I came up with one on 138 Daggett Way. It's a 3 bed/2 bath single family home built in 1956. It's on the market for $399,000. That's what we'd call a "bread and butter" home--nothing fancy, but OK. The description says it does need some work: "A great price for this 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home with 1,512 sq ft of living space & almost 1/3 acre mostly flat & sunny.This is a perfect project for a contractor or handyman. This property has deferred maintenance and needs upgrades but the possibilities are endless for this Lower Kingsbury home."

First odd thing is that the Zestimate for that house is $574,000. Might actually be a good deal...if the Zestimate is accurate. So, let's look at Zillow's "comps."

Well, there's 1521 Bonita--a 3/2 built in 1970. Not too far off. But Zillow says it sold for $125,000. Sounds a bit low. Can you really buy that sort of home for $125,000? If so, then even the list price on Daggett is too high. But let's continue.

Another comp: 4081 Greenwood. It's a 5 bed/3 bath built in 2007. Now, I wouldn't call that a comp to a 3/2 built in 1956. It sold for $1.3 million.

Another comp: 4027 Crest. It's also a 5/3. This one was built in 1977. Again, not what I'd call a comp. It sold in December for $845,000.

Another comp: 395 Sherwood. Zillow doesn't have the number of beds and baths. And it was built in 1978. Not a great comp, since we don't know beds or baths, and it's 22 years newer. That one sold for $980,000 in January.

Most of the other comps are just as, well, incomparable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Along with the other problems that are listed below, in some areas the homes have a great variance. Zillow does not have the tools, just as stated below, but even with these tools ,if there are few sales in the area and great differences in the homes only a hands on appraisers can give a value.
I don't know what part of Ca. you live in but take for instance the Farmers Market area of L.A., I am sure you still have some of the older homes and have a lot of teardowns with larger homes built in their place, I know this has happened in Newport Beach. Zillow may be able to handle that in Ca. but does very poorly here in Texas, especially if not many residents are selling.
A local Realtor will be familiar with all the differences including the value of the paticular construction.
Zillow may be using sales record for a few years against tax records in the general area. The comps you receive from a Realtor are accurate. I know people swear by Zillow but I find it is usless in this area, that is except for a fast view of property.
Only a good Buyers agent can advise you if the home is overpriced. Even banks do not take the advice of a web site that has not viewed the property. Hey that would be like believing the tax assessor and he/she know more.
Happy Home Shopping and Welcome To Texas - That is when you get here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
If Zillow was an accurate site, all appraisers would be out of business...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 10, 2008
Hello Hy, the issue Zillow has in Texas is that this is a non-disclosure state. They can get offer price only...not sold price unless the seller themselves gives it to them (that would be rare). It is best to contact a Realtor and ask any specific questions you have about a property...the Realtor you choose to represent you has access to all the info to help you make an informed decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 10, 2008
Hi Hy,

Zillow doesn't really work well in Texas as far as prices go. Not sure about other parts of the country. Here we don't record sales prices at the courthouse only mortgages so that's why it doesn't work well. For a while it was close in some of the newer neighborhoods where there were lots of people using 100% financing, but in older neighborhoods where people might have 50% equity or use larger down payments the numbers are way off. Much like the example you gave. I've also seen Zillow numbers change by $40,000 or so on the same property in a fairly short amount of time. I just wouldn't depend on Zillow or tax appraisals to value a house. A common list to sales price percentage I see is 97% and that's probably a good ballpark to use. If it listed for $450,000, maybe you could get for $435,000. Obviously each situation is different, but it would be unusual in my experience for the house to be listed at $100,000 over market value. The 97% list to sales is just an idea. There are some homes that will sell for list or more...usually those are the ones that are decked out and look good. The ones that are beaters and need work and need updates could sell much below that ratio. Zillow is good for some other information like schools, maps, etc.
Web Reference: http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 8, 2008
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
Zillow is only a source it is not the true value of home, only the CMA's provided by a real estate agent, and appraiser will provide you the true value. Keep in mind in order to effectively work with a real estate agent you need to be pre-approved for loan, with all offers must have a pre-approval letter, with the current changes in lending many buyers who could have qualified several months ago no longer are qualified. The 100% financing is a rare exception however there can be 95% loans based on credit scores and etc.

However only use those sights as search tools, or a real estate site in that area that is "real time MLS"

Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 8, 2008
To answer your question, I would not offer $350 if they are askign $450 for the house. I will be glad to prepare a Market Analysis for you. You can find my contact information on my website.

Alos, no need to worry about hurricanes in Katy. I live only a couple of miles NE of Katy and we are too far inland for any serious flooding. I don't blame you for being concerned after all the media about Hurricanes Rita and Katrina a couple of years ago.

Welcome to Texas!
Web Reference: http://www.har.com/jch
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 8, 2008
Hello Hy Park,

Not sure which property you are talking about so can't give you detailed information about it. I do know, however, that Zillow does not always have accurate information. Sometimes they estimate that value of the house higher and other lower. I recommend visitng http://www.har.com. This is the official website for the Houston Association fo Realtors, it is very user friendly and has the most accurate and current information with tons of tools for consumers.

Hope this helps.

Juan Carlos
Web Reference: http://www.har.com/jch
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 8, 2008
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