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Real estate expert says Zillow is good way to find home's value

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Homeowners who want to know how much their home is worth are clicking right to Zillow.

"Zillow has done a great job of branding themselves as the go-to place," said Valley real estate expert Dean Wegner. "If you want to know value, the word 'Zillow' is synonymous with checking your home's value."

Wegner said that Zillow's estimates of your home's value, which it calls "Zestimates," are extremely accurate, even though the Zillow is a "lagging index," meaning that the data is going to be 30 to 90 days old.

Wegner recently put Zillow to the test.

"We looked at five Zestimates and five appraisals that had just happened within the last five days. These were values before Zillow was able to digest the public records information," Wegner explained. "What we found was that Zillow was about 99 percent accurate in all of those cases."

Another Valley realtor, who wanted to remain anonymous, disagrees with Wegner, saying that Zillow is not accurate.

She was contacted after it was noticed that a house she has listed for sale is priced at $23,000 more than the Zestimate. The realtor told us that Zillow does not take into account the condition of the house, such as whether it is in bad shape or has had several upgrades.

Wegner says that Zillow is a good way to find your home's value, but there are other things to take into account when deciding the selling price of your house.

"I look at the Zestimate, and then I look at homes that are currently under contract in the neighborhood," Wegner said. "Then I can see that if your same floor plan is under contract at a much higher amount, I know that we can push it another two to five percent above that."

Wegner says he checks home values on Zillow several times a day.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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