Zillow. We real estate professionals have a love/hate relationship with them. It is great that consumers can take charge of what is available and not rely on the whims of the agent showing you around. When I bought my first house on Hilton Head Island, I was under the impression my agent was showing me all homes in my range. After I got my license and researched it, he only showed me homes that were HIS listings and then when none of them met my criteria, only homes that were his BROKERAGES listings. There was a great home with a competitor that would have worked beautifully for me and my two young sons, yet HE never even took me to that house. Obviously, this was before you could see what was truly available for sale. This makes me LOVE Zillow, and you?


SO now to where I dislike Zillow. The "Zestimate". SO many consumer rely on that information and it is my duty to educate consumers and sellers alike. Fortunately, the Zillow folks have crunched the data to give its reliability down to counties.  Here is the stats on Beaufort County:

What I want to impress to you is that a 3 out of 5 star rating is not very accurate. Furthermore, only a bit over 80% are within 20% of what property actually sold for. Now, this may work in gated communities in Bluffton, whose homes are all within a price range, have been built within 10 years of each other, have a handful of builders and may just have different finishes. THIS DOES NOT WORK well on Hilton Head. I'll take that back: the newer communities it does and of the larger ones, the last two that were developed, namely Indigo Run and Palmetto Hall it works quite well. The REST of it is NOT reliable. Please use your real estate professional that knows and understands our market to run comps for you to get your estimate. The Zestimate will not help the seller or buyer, but misleads many consumers. For example, if an older home is surrounded by torn down, new builds, it will give a higher estimate than is effective. Additionally, one side of the street may have deep water views and docks while the other side of the street does not. You cannot pool them together to get a correct value. Appraisals are only good for 6 months because the 'value' will change. Not to confuse the reader or get off topic, but the 'value' is only worth what someone is willing to pay. 

So next time you look at a Zestimate, take it with a grain of salt and remember that in ALL of Beaufort County, only a bit over 50% are sold within that Zestimate range. Chances are the house you are wanting to buy on Hilton Head Island does not have an accurate Zestimate. Please rely on a full time real estate professional to guide you. 

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Ochsner