Both Zillow and Redfin are popular online home value estimators. As of 2024, Redfin is slightly more accurate.
Zillow’s home value estimator (the Zestimate) relies on both public and user-submitted data for its proprietary formula. So does the Redfin Estimate.
The big issue is that neither estimator is very accurate when it comes to pricing your home before it goes on the market — which is a vital part of selling your home.
If you want to get the most accurate home value estimate, we recommend getting a comparative market analysis (also known as a CMA or “comps”) from a local real estate agent. Most agents are happy to provide a free CMA — all you have to do is ask!
The easiest way to connect with local realtors is through an agent finding tool like Clever Real Estate. Its licensed concierge team will personally introduce you to the best local agents from top-rated brokers such as Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, and RE/MAX.
Clever is a completely free, no-obligation service designed to help save you time and money.
Is Zillow or Redfin More Accurate?
|On-market median error rate
|Off-market median error rate
Redfin Estimates have a lower median error rate than Zestimates.
Redfin’s home value estimator is also generally more accurate than Zillow’s for off-market homes. For example, Redfin’s estimates are 41% accurate within 5% of the sales price for off-market homes, while Zillow’s estimates are 35% accurate.
For listed homes, both Redfin and Zillow are 77% accurate within 5% of the sale price.
Zillow used to be more accurate than Redfin. But its Zestimate accuracy rates for within 5% of the sale price dropped significantly from 82% in 2021 to 67% in 2022.
Zillow and Redfin’s home value algorithms are more reliable for general estimates than precise ones. Both companies are very accurate — about 98% — when estimating within 20% of a home’s sale price. But that accuracy drops to just 77% when estimating within 5% of the sales price.
Zillow and Redfin’s home value estimates also vary locally. If you’d like to check margins of error near you, Zillow lists its accuracy rates at the national, state, and metropolitan levels. Redfin also lists its national and state accuracy rates, but it breaks down states by county rather than metro area.
|🤔 What’s a median error rate?
Redfin and Zillow use median error rates to convey how accurate their home value estimators are. Median error rates describe how closely Zillow and Redfin’s estimates match actual home values — and in both cases, estimates are more accurate for active listings than off-market homes.
Zillow has a median error rate of 2.4% for active listings. That means the Zestimate will be within 2.4% of the sales price for half of all its on-market listings, while half won’t be. Its median error rate is 7.49% for off-market listings.
Redfin has a median error rate of 2.1% for active listings. That means Redfin Estimates for half of all on-market homes are within 2.1% of the sales price, while half aren’t. For off-market homes, the gap widens to 6.45%.
How Accurate Is the Redfin Estimate?
The Redfin estimate is a calculation of a home’s individual value in the market. Redfin states their estimates are very accurate, with a median error rate of just 2.1%.
The closer Redfin gets to pinpointing a home’s actualized price, the accuracy gap widens:
Redfin is careful to note that its estimates are just a place to start and should not take the place of an actual appraisal or CMA from a professional real estate agent. But it also claims that its online home value estimator is the most accurate one out there.
A Redfin hot home is a listed home that Redfin believes will sell exceptionally fast. The idea is that Redfin can identify these homes for buyers so buyers can shoot on over to see them before they’re swept off the market.
How Redfin determines a hot home is a proprietary secret, but we’re given a few clues. Hot homes are typically designated “hot” the day it’s listed, with Redfin tallying up 500 factors like price, sale history, property type, neighborhood, and how fast comparable homes have sold.
Redfin also notes that if a home gets a “significant number of Redfin views, tours, or other indications of buyer interest,” it can become a hot home. Likewise, if a hot home fails to attract sufficient interest or the market changes, it loses its hotness.
How Accurate Is Zillow’s Zestimate?
Zillow estimates market values for about 104 million homes by using data such as:
- Size, location, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Listing price, description, and comparable homes
- Tax assessments, sales history, and other records
- Market trends
Zillow’s algorithm can automatically compute values that are based on both publicly-submitted as well as user-submitted data points for each property.
The true accuracy of a Zillow home value estimate will vary based on a number of factors, including property location and what kind of data is available.
Like Redfin, the closer Zillow tries to pinpoint the actual sales price, the less accurate it gets:
Zillow tries to combat inaccuracy issues by allowing homeowners to update data like sale price and tax history on their own, which can affect the Zestimate. Zillow refreshes Zestimates for every home in its database daily.
Zillow also takes into account market trends and seasonality, which play a significant factor in price.
|🔎 How often does Zillow update?
Zillow updates its Zestimates “multiple times per week.” Since Zillow is constantly tweaking its algorithms, changes and new features can interrupt that schedule, although it’s rare.
Why Are Zillow and Redfin Estimates So Different?
Put simply, Zillow and Redfin estimates are different because they use different models. Specifics for those models are kept under lock, key, and non-disclosure agreements, so no one except for Zillow and Redfin employees understands exactly how they work.
Redfin says it only provides a Redfin Estimate if there are “enough similar properties sold nearby within the last year.” Zillow, on the other hand, says its Zestimates “rely on much more than comparable sales in a given area.”
Overall, we can identify three major factors for why Zillow and Redfin home estimates are different:
- Number of homes evaluated
- Market conditions
- Overall accuracy levels
But Redfin’s and Zillow’s home value estimates shouldn’t be drastically different for a single home. If that’s the case, it’s likely that one site has inaccurate or outdated information about that home. Both Zillow and Redfin allow the user to edit home facts, but you’ll have to claim the property as an owner to do so.
Reason #1: Zillow Covers More Homes than Redfin
Officially, Redfin says it provides home value estimates for over 92 million homes, although its weekly updated data indicates it’s closer to 97.6 million — only about 1.3 million are active listings. Redfin operates in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
By contrast, Zillow provides estimates for more than 104 million homes in all 50 states. Like Redfin, the majority are off-market, with only 1.25 million active listings.
It’s also worth noting that Zillow uses data from a much larger geographic region than what a traditional realtor or appraiser would use — instead of just using comps from your neighborhood, Zillow can pull data from an entire county to calculate its Zestimate.
Reason #2: Hot Markets and Renovations Can Mess With Home Prices
Redfin and Zillow can’t account for renovations and additions if they aren’t reported, nor can they gauge the quality of those upgrades and the perspective of potential buyers.
Also, in very hot markets, homes go on and off the market fast and can sell for way over asking. That can make accurate estimates difficult for home value estimator algorithms.
Reason #3: Error Margins and Accuracy Updates Are Different
Redfin’s home value estimator median error rates are about 0.3% more accurate than Zillow’s, so in practice, the two estimates are practically equal.
However, Zillow doesn’t publicly update its accuracy or error margins as frequently as Redfin. Zillow last updated its accuracy numbers on April 27, 2023. Redfin updates its accuracy rates weekly.
Redfin Estimates vs. Zillow Estimates: Accuracy Rates Drop in 2022
In 2021, Zillow’s estimates were more accurate than Redfin’s. That all changed in July 2022 when Zillow finally updated its accuracy and error rates.
In 2021, Zillow’s accuracy rate for getting within 5% of the sale price was 82%. That accuracy rate dropped 15 percentage points to just 67% in 2022. Redfin’s accuracy rates also dropped, but it wasn’t as dramatic. Redfin’s accuracy rate fell 4 percentage points, from 76% in 2021 to 72% in 2022.
Zillow ended up overpaying for a slew of homes and lost over $500 million, causing the company to shutter the program and lay off about 2,000 workers in late 2021.
While Zillow has not stated that its home value estimate accuracy drop is related to the Zillow Offers shutdown, it seems likely.
Note: Accuracy Drops for Off-Market Homes on Both Zillow and Redfin
Neither Redfin nor Zillow are very accurate for determining the value of off-market homes within 5% of the sale price. In fact, both companies’ home value estimators are accurate for just about 1 in 3 off-market properties.
That huge drop in accuracy for off-market homes is surprising, especially since many home sellers believe artificial intelligence could outperform a flesh-and-blood agent.
Our Data Center’s 2022 survey of 1,000 American home sellers found that people were split over whether or not current AI tech could outperform a real estate agent — but 47% put their faith in the robots.
Zillow and Redfin vs. CMAs
Where Zillow and Redfin use automated data points to estimate a home’s value, a realtor looks at your home in person and is knowledgeable about your local market. Both use a CMA, but a realtor’s comps are going to be more accurate.
Zillow and Redfin home estimators can only evaluate so much — typically by square footage and number of bathrooms. Zillow says it uses the listing description as well, but it doesn’t say how it uses that information.
Both Zillow’s and Redfin’s estimates depend on the amount and recency of data available in your market. If either site has inaccurate data, it would affect the price forecast.
Realtors have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information, often by networking with other agents and having knowledge of nearby homes. Listing agents use comps to look for similarly-sized homes as well as homes with comparable features in your neighborhood. Algorithms can’t tell if a house has warped floorboards or carpeted bathrooms, which can throw off both Zillow and Redfin estimates.
Algorithms also struggle to produce accurate estimates if your home for sale is unique to the area. It’s easier to estimate the cost of a brick ranch in a suburb full of brick ranches, but it’s more difficult to estimate a Queen Anne in a neighborhood with salt boxes and craftsman homes.
Instead, we recommend shopping around for a qualified real estate agent who’s familiar with how much homes are selling for near you. Clever makes it simple to find the best agents from Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, and more. You’ll tell its licensed concierge team about your home and financial goals, then get matched with hand-picked agents who can help you price and sell your home.
With more than 1,700 Trustpilot reviews and an average 5 out of 5 rating, Clever has earned a reputation for providing great service and simplifying real estate for homeowners across the nation.
🏡 Get a free CMA from a top local expert!
Clever Real Estate matches you with top-producing local agents who will provide a free comparative market analysis (CMA) as part of their listing proposal. This gives you the most accurate estimate of how much your home could sell for right now. Clever's service is 100% free, and there's no obligation to move forward with any of the agents you meet with.
Redfin vs. Zillow vs. Appraisal
Your home is one of your most valuable assets — so you shouldn’t base your understanding of its value solely on an online estimate.
Neither Redfin nor Zillow is terribly accurate when it comes to estimating a value within 5% of the sales price. And both sites are inaccurate when it comes to estimating the value of off-market homes.
As a result, both Redfin and Zillow say their home value estimates are a jumping-off point and shouldn’t be used as an actual comparative market analysis or an appraisal. There’s no such thing as a Redfin appraisal or Zillow appraisal — an appraisal must be done by a licensed appraiser.
Appraisals cost a few hundred dollars and will give you a very good idea of what your home is worth. The downside is that the buyer’s lender will not use the seller’s appraisal, so they will have to order their own. The buyer will go with what their appraiser says, even if it’s a different valuation.
By contrast, most real estate agents are happy to offer free home value estimates — and tell you how your home might be able to sell for more. When you work with an experienced realtor, you’ll receive expert advice about how to market your home and negotiate the best outcome, based on your goals for the home sale.
Other Home Value Estimators
These companies also provide popular home value estimators:
Home value estimators are a good way to get a general idea of your home’s price point. But if you want the most accurate estimate, get a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent.
FAQ About Redfin and Zillow Home Value Estimators
How often does Zillow update?
Zillow updates its Zestimates several times a week. However, Zillow rarely updates its accuracy or error rates publicly. Learn more about Zillow Zestimates.
What does hot home mean on Redfin?
A Redfin hot home is a home that Redfin thinks will sell faster than its neighbors. Hot homes are typically selected as “hot” as soon as they are listed, but already-listed homes can become hot homes. Learn what conditions Redfin hot homes must meet.
Does Zillow own Redfin?
Zillow is an online real estate company that owns Trulia. Redfin is a discount brokerage that operates redfin.com. Both are based in Seattle and have their own competing home value estimators with different accuracy and error rates. Learn which estimator is more accurate.
What is Zillow’s Zestimate accuracy?
Zillow’s Zestimate is 77% accurate within 5% of the sales price for listed homes. That accuracy increases to about 98% when estimating within 20% of the home’s sale price. Learn more about Zillow’s Zestimate accuracy.
How accurate are Zillow’s estimates?
Zillow’s estimates are very accurate (98%) when it’s estimating the home sale price of on-market homes within 20%. Zillow’s estimates become less accurate the more it tries to pinpoint the actual sale price. Zestimates are only 77% accurate when attempting to estimate within 5% of the sales price. Zillow is even more inaccurate when trying to estimate the sale price for off-market homes. Learn more about Zillow’s estimate accuracy.
Redfin vs. Zillow: Which is more accurate?
Zillow’s Zestimates are less accurate than Redfin’s home value estimator. However, neither is very accurate when attempting to pinpoint the price of off-market homes. Read more about Redfin vs Zillow.