Zestimates and The Truth

How about those zestimates?

We see on every listing in America that once a home hits the MLS, Zillow revises their zestimate to within a couple of dollars of the list price. That alone is shady and should be illegal, given how consumers have come to rely on them as the truth.

How close are they when homes are off-market?

The pre-market zestimates on our recent listings range from being as much as $550,400 UNDER the actual sales price, to being $815,000 OVER the sales price.

The scariest part is that sometimes they are close to being right!

Which is which? How do you know how accurate your zestimate is?

We should stop saying that commissions are negotiable and say it correctly. Every agent has their own commission rate – some agents charge more, and some charge less, and it usually depends on their skill set.

Are you going to hire a less-experienced agent who isn’t as good on pricing, just to save a point because you trust your zestimate? Yikes!

Get Good Help!

Sold for $1,870,000. Wrong by $296,900.


Sold for $2,705,000. Wrong by $94,200.


Sold for $4,137,000. Wrong by $815,000.


Sold for $926,000. Wrong by $57,300.


Sold for $1,400,000. Wrong by $114,000.


Sold for $1,610,000. Wrong by $197,200.


Sold for $3,365,000. Wrong by $550,400.


Sold for $1,350,000. Wrong by $105,000.


Sold for $1,450,000. Wrong by $281,500.


Sold for $2,440,000. Wrong by $16,100.

More Zillow Predictions

Zillow sent me two more areas:

Encinitas, 92024

Rancho Santa Fe, 92067

We are rolling into Flatline City, and we’ll be here the rest of the year. At least.

Expect that the 1Q25 market will be the best of that year too, just like in 2024.

Zillow Predicts Decreasing Values

Here is the first report in the next cycle of local Zillow forecasts.

At the beginning of the year, they predicted that all of the local areas would appreciate 3% to 4%, and by March they raised their optimism into the 5% range.

All of those gains must have already happened?

They think that values will go negative from June to May, apparently.

These look like they will flatten out too:

It’s Friday – here is their next offering:

Zillow Lowers Forecasts

Zillow has every reason to be the nation’s real estate cheerleader since they derive the bulk of their income from realtors. They had been predicting 3% to 6% appreciation locally this year….at least up until two weeks ago.

Something has changed:

Carlsbad NW – 92008

Carlsbad SE – 92009

Carlsbad NE – 92010

Carlsbad SW – 92011

Carmel Valley – 92130

Del Mar – 92014

Encinitas – 92024

La Jolla – 92037

Carmel Valley out in front with a +2% over the next year? Yikes!

It means they think that everywhere else will be flat, at best.

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Now that NAR’s proposed settlement of the Sitzer/Burnett lawsuit has received preliminary approval, the industry is receiving numerous updates about the future of real estate practices.

One change, set to take place in July, is that home buyers will be required to have written agreements with real estate agents before touring properties.

Although Zillow is not required to offer consumer-facing agreements, it recognizes that this step can foster transparency, open communication and better alignment between agents and clients. It also understands that buyers may hesitate when it comes to signing a long-term contract with an agent they don’t know.

To help solve this problem, Zillow is offering a non-exclusive touring agreement for agents to use.

In the announcement, Errol Samuelson, Chief Industry Development Officer stated, “…insisting that a buyer sign an exclusive, long-term agreement with an agent, perhaps before even meeting the agent, feels premature. That’s why Zillow has created a non-exclusive touring agreement, and we’re making it available for use to the entire residential real estate industry.”

With this agreement, neither exclusivity nor compensation is required. Zillow suggests negotiating these aspects after the initial meetings when both the home buyer and real estate agent are comfortable moving forward.

“At the time when an additional agreement is signed, the buyer and the agent should be aligned on all terms and expectations, including compensation, with no surprises,” Samuelson said in Zillow’s post.

While this agreement benefits buyers who are not ready to fully commit to an agent before touring a property, Zillow also emphasized the value agents bring to transactions, noting that agents help ease the complexity and stress involved in buying a home.

Zillow is encouraging agents to embrace transparency and prioritize building trust with clients, and the group is offering its touring agreement to all agents.

“As we move forward, it’s important to remain focused on who the real estate industry serves: buyers and sellers,” Samuelson stated. “In this moment of evolution we’re extending an invitation: join us in putting consumers first.”


From Zillow:

“Buying a home is complex and often comes with a lot of stress: half of buyers tell us they cried at some point during the process. Without an expert prioritizing their individual needs, buyers can miss out on making a competitive offer, leave money on the table in the negotiation, ignore potential pitfalls or waive important aspects such as inspections – which can end up costing them later. Most buyers want and need an expert on their side – we don’t see that changing. This makes finding the right agent that much more important and it’s why upfront conversations about expectations and compensation are critical. We strongly believe in the value of independent representation: buyers and sellers deserve to work with an agent who is committed to their best interests and only represents them.”

Zillow Appreciation Guesses

In February, their annual appreciation guesses were in the 3% to 4% range. In March, they got excited and bumped all local areas up to 4.9% to 6.3%! They are back to the 2.2%-3.9% range, with Carmel Valley clocking in with a solid 4.3% over the next 12 months.

It probably means that pricing will be fairly flat until next year:

Carlsbad NW

Carlsbad SE

Carlsbad NE

Carlsbad SW

Carmel Valley

Del Mar


La Jolla

Rancho Santa Fe

Zillow Local Forecasts

Last month their annual appreciation guesses were in the 3% to 4% range, now they are up to 4.9% to 6.3% for the next 12 months!

We’ll probably exceed those in the first quarter of 2024!

Carlsbad NW – 92008

Carlsbad SE – 92009

Carlsbad NE – 92010

Carlsbad SW – 92011

Carmel Valley – 92130

Del Mar – 92014

Encinitas – 92024

Rancho Santa Fe – 92067

Zillow Local Appreciation Guesses, 2024

If Zillow made their predictions based on traffic to their website, it would be impressive. I’m not sure how they figure these though.

Generally, they are expecting +3% to 4% in home values around here over the next 12 months:

Carlsbad 92008

Carlsbad 92009

Carlsbad 92010

Carlsbad 92011

Carmel Valley 92130

Del Mar 92014

Encinitas 92024

Rancho Santa Fe 92067

Homes.com Super Bowl Ads

Homes.com says they are going to be a primary real estate search portal, and well, it’s go time! One of the 30-second Super Bowl ads cost $7 million – a great place to spend big money if you’re trying to make a splash. This are just teasers for their Super Bowl ads:

The last video appears to have CoStar’s CEO Andy Florance in a cameo board room scene (:15). Both of them teasing the “2.11.24” Super Bowl date. He likes to go big with their promotion, and nothing is bigger than a Super Bowl ad. Should be fun to watch!

We will be seeing ads for Homes.com everywhere this year:

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