Have you ever punched your address into Zillow’s ‘Zestimate’ calculator with the promise of a valuation of your home’s worth on today’s market, no strings attached? Of course you’re excited when you realize you can cut out having to call a Realtor® or pay for a bank appraisal. Then what happens next is nothing short of confusing and irritating. What you get back is nothing close to an acceptable range of home worth. Some people get ‘Zestimates’ that are ten, twenty, thirty, even hundreds of thousands of dollars from what they expected for their home. Some people even get range sets that can be a hundred thousand dollars for every two hundred thousand the house is worth!
While we would all love to blame Zillow for being lazy or being a scam, but the truth can be a bit more simple that first imagined and can be summed up in one sentence. Texas is a non-disclosure state.
To further explain this, we went right to Zillow and found their explanation of what this means:
It seems many people are confused regarding what a non-disclosure state (or county) is. Hopefully, we can set the record straight for those of you wondering. What does the term “non-disclosure” really signify when it comes to property records? It’s a tricky question given that people or companies use the term differently given that exact definitions can vary by location.
The big, big picture is that in a non-disclosure state, transaction sale prices are not available to the public. There are two main causes for states being considered non-disclosure:
The first cause is that in most non-disclosure states or counties, when a real estate transaction occurs, the sale price is not required to be submitted to the county office (this is the case in Texas and North Dakota among others).
The second cause is that even though records are kept by a governing body, the records can not be distributed to the public. Such is the case in New Mexico, which “is a strict nondisclosure state, information about property can only be given to the registered owner of the property.”
Since we rely on public county records as our primary data source driving our Zestimate algorithms (which take comparable sales prices into account), it poses a challenge to calculate accurate Zestimates when sale prices are not available.
The following states are considered non-disclosure: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri (some counties), Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
If you live in any of the above states, at least you now know why we don’t currently have sales records in your area. As we improve our data and algorithms, we are continually looking for additional data sources. Meanwhile, you can always chart how much data we have in an area by reviewing our data and accuracy table.
We here at Ritz Group Realty DO have a first step you can take to get a value of your home that starts right on the computer or mobile device and ends up with you knowing your price range on today’s market:
Step 1: Find You Home’s Value:
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