If you’re a homeowner, by now you’ve probably heard the term “zestimate,” But, for many people the word is still an enigma. So, what is it and why does it matter exactly? According to Zillow, the leading online real estate marketplace, a Zestimate is the estimated market value of a property. While not an official appraisal, it serves as a starting point in determining a home’s value. These estimated values are computed daily from data collected through public records.

Unfortunately, zestimates can often fall short. Whether the data is dated, incomplete, or inaccurate, low values can be quite troublesome if you’re trying to sell your home. With over 90% of homebuyers searching online, you want the information provided to be as accurate as possible. Luckily, there is a way to increase your Zestimate so that it more accurately portrays the value of your home.

How to Increase Your Home’s Zestimate

Since Zillow’s data is derived from public records, the information can sometimes be outdated, missing, or just incorrect. It’s important to review your Zestimate and update the facts and details properly, as it could make significant changes to the overall value. The power to increase your Zestimate lies in your hands. Here’s what you can do.

First, you’ll need a Zillow account (don’t worry, they’re free!). Then, find your home and claim it as your own. Once you’ve claimed your home, you can update and add any information you choose, such as amenities within and around your home, what you like about your home, what you think it’s worth, if you’ve made any upgrades or renovations, and any other information that may not be reflected in public records.

Here are some quick tips for updating your home’s details on Zillow:

  • Read the list of amenities and be sure to check off ALL that apply. Each amenity will factor into the Zestimate for your home. Plus, you can further describe any amenities in detail in your home description.
  • Think like a buyer and tailor the description of your home to suit their needs. For example, if it provides easy access to commuting options, emphasize the convenience for commuters. If the neighborhood is laid back and friendly, emphasize the strong sense of community. Be sure to also put emphasis on features that buyers may look for in a home, such as stainless steel appliances, a fenced-in yard, remodeled bathrooms, finished basements, etc.
  • Be realistic. It may be tempting to exaggerate on some of your home’s features, but it’s better to just be honest. This can help you avoid liability for inaccurate information. Do your research and give an honest and realistic estimate of what your property is worth, not what you wish it was worth.
  • Get creative about what you like about your home. Describe amenities and features that may not be readily apparent to potential buyers, like what kind of view you have from your back yard, what’s within walking distance, how quiet it is at night, or how welcoming the neighbors are.

Once you input all relevant updates and changes to your home’s Zestimate, the next step is to wait. On average, Zillow will take about two weeks to reflect your update. Be patient and eventually, you’ll wake up to see your Zestimate has increased and is closer to where it should be.

Even subtle remodels and renovations in your home can be important factors in increasing your home’s overall value. To discuss a potential home remodel, contact the experts at Sandy Spring Builders for advice and accompaniment on your project.