A few years ago, we stayed on the Outerbanks in a weekly rental home. We left with the idea of one day purchasing a vacation home of our own. We buy it, pass it on to the next generation and viola!, our legacy is set.. Well, which house, when, how much, is the price right????
I started monitoring a particular neighborhood through web searches and Zillow. I ended up mapping over 300 homes. Not all were for sale. There are another 230 lots in this development. During the many nights in my favorite Marriott properties, I now track 3 neighborhoods, condo complexes, or towns (ours). All in the name of avoiding stir craziness on the road.
Spreadsheet hobbies aren't very exciting to the outside world, but they cost much and can make you an expert in no time.
I have used Zillow in the past to monitor home prices and found they are only as good as the last buyer purchase on the specific property they are valuing. I will give you an example: We bought a home in 2001 for $540,000. We did a huge renovation and expanded the home to over 5400 sq. ft. Zillow has no idea that the home or value has changed. Other homes in my area have the same issues. Zillow seems to attempt a 'value model' based on county/municipality tax value and the amount of the past sales prices in a close proximity. However, a final value is only as good as the information they can access from the past. My home's initial purchase price...$540,000. My current value tax price...$1.6 million. By the way, it is a waterview, has a beautiful pool, on a double oversize lot in a private development with a private beach boardwalk access.
Zillow's current estimate...$540,000. Since the most recent sale price for a 2200 sq. ft. home in the development was $649,000 and my home is 5400+ with a waterview, pool and private beach access, I think it is fair to say Zillow has some 'glitches'. Buyer beware when it comes to the Zillow model.