Web Sites That Determine Your Home’s Value

Web Sites That Determine Your Home’s Value

Jul 25, 2016

What’s the house really worth?

Before the Internet, consumers had few resources to gain insight into what homes were selling for. They could talk to neighbors, call a real estate agent, or manually search through public records.

Today, however, consumers can turn to one of the many Web-based home valuation sites for a price estimate of almost any home in the country.

As useful as they may seem to buyers and sellers, you have probably discovered by now that the price estimates on websites are usually not very accurate.

For people who are going to buy or sell a home this year, knowing this kind of information is crucial. Even if you are staying put, it is smart to know where you stand when it comes to your biggest investment.

Several real estate websites and their companion apps, will help you do just that.

ZILLOW (www.zillow.com)

Type in your address — or any home you’re curious about — to see what the “Zestimate” is. If you are a homeowner and disagree with a Zestimate, check to see if the facts about your home are wrong or out of date. You are allowed to update your home facts, but you can’t remove your home from the site.

Keep in mind that estimates are only starting points. They are no substitute for a professional appraisal or a comparative market analysis done by a professional real estate agent.

TRULIA (www.trulia.com)

At Trulia, you can get an estimate of your home’s value simply by entering your address. Edit or add facts about your property if information is wrong or missing. Trulia is an excellent tool if you’re house hunting. It is helpful whether you’re looking to move across town or across the country. Search for homes for sale by city, state or zip code.

In addition to standard searches based on price range and number of bedrooms and baths, Trulia allows more creative searches, too. Trulia’s unique Heat Maps provide a graphic picture of an area’s sales, price trends and popularity. Adjust the Heat Map by neighborhood, city, county and state. You’ll also find school ratings, information about nearby businesses and comments from local residents. Have a question? Try asking it in the Q&A forum and get advice from a local real estate agent.

REALTOR.COM (www.realtor.com)

More than 900 Multiple Listing Services across the United States funnel home listings here — the official site of the National Association of Realtors If you are serious about selling your home and want an informative report on your home’s value and comparable sales in the neighborhood, this is the place to go.

Click past the front page and Realtor.com becomes a trove of information about mortgages, real estate trends and other topics. In the Home & Garden section, for instance, you will find advice about how to tackle common home improvement projects and save money on energy.

Don’t Expect Accuracy

At best, home valuation Web sites can occasionally be spot-on. However, the market value of any home can also be influenced by factors a valuation web site will miss. Most sites clearly state their value is an estimate only—never an actual appraisal. To get the most accurate picture of what you home is worth it is best to contact a professional real estate agent for accurate, timely, pricing information.

Bruce Ballatine

Bruce Ballatine, SRES, CSA is a Realtor Associate with Evergreen Realty. CalBRE #001783833. He can be reached at (949) 632-2923 or bruce.evergreen@cox.net

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