There are several websites out there that will place a value on your home. Should you trust these online evaluations? Why or why not?
Nowadays, consumers think that online is the best place to find out the value of their home. A few of the most popular websites that are visited for this purpose are Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and Movoto. These websites give you a home value in real time, meaning they are constantly changing based on the new data coming in.
The reality is, these sites will only give you a ballpark figure.
Zillow executives are on record saying there is upwards of a 30% margin for error in their evaluation process. It may be extremely convenient to be able to get this information with just a quick click, but you should not put all of your trust in the generated figure these sites give you.
If you are seriously looking to sell your home, you shouldn’t lean on only an online evaluation. Use it as a guide and a benchmark to build your knowledge, but talking to an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with your home and your neighborhood is a much more accurate tool.
A real estate agent knows what the general fluctuations of a marketplace will be, and will know the expectations of buyers in your neighborhood.
The algorithm used by a home evaluation website simply doesn’t know everything about your property and your neighborhood. There are other factors that will contribute to the value of your home, such as the appearance of neighboring properties. A website won’t know if you’ve gutted and remodeled your home’s interior or if the house next door has a junkyard. Only an experienced agent will be able to understand and apply these pieces of information to come up with an accurate value for your home.
The Bottom Line:
Use a online evaluation as a tool and a base to find out the rough range of your home’s value, but if you really want to know what a home’s going to sell for, you need to talk to a real estate agent familiar with your area who will give you a comparative market analysis (CMA). This report will show you in real time what your home would be worth, and the agent can speak to the likely price a buyer would pay for it, which could be different than what your home is worth depending on market conditions.