Is your Home Value Missing the Mark?

house, money, calculatorMost homebuyers begin their search online, looking to sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Redfin for house-hunting intelligence, including all-important home values. But those online price estimates might be little more than an algorithm’s best guess, and perhaps not even a particularly good one, at that.

So before you rule out a house as well out of your budget — or put your current home on the market because of its better-than-ever value — you might want to rethink that price tag.

Today, many are faced with selling a condo while buying a home (upsizing), or downsizing, which means you will be working both sides of the property value equation. Zillow and similar sites don’t add much clarity to the situation. Some of the sites will have a house at almost $60,000 to $70,000 more than  it is selling for — and some may price it for almost $100,000 less.

If you have your home appraised, then you know what it is worth. However, many homeowners do not want to pay the out of pocket expense to find out (Estimated cost is $400-$500).

Online services, while great sources of information, often strive to offer quick and easy answers to complicated questions. And determining a home’s value is definitely a multilayered problem.

On its website, Zillow admits that its “Zestimate” is simply a “starting point” in determining a home’s value. Using proprietary algorithms that include recent sales and property tax assessments, the calculations are automatically updated three times per week based on “millions of public and user-submitted data points.” Translated, that means that the data can be manipulated by anyone.

So, other than paying for an appraisal, how do you find the accurate value? Your local Real Estate Agent has access to reliable sources that report factual data. For example, Realtors use comps or Comparative Market Analysis. They can calculate the cost per square foot and know when to add value for home improvements, i.e.; Kitchen upgrades, finished basement, additional bathrooms, as well as the overall condition of the home. Realtors have access to tools & algorithms that the mortgage lenders use to truly measure the value of your home. When interviewing a Realtor, ask them how they arrived at your home value.

Need more information? I am more than happy to provide a complete analysis of your home. Please feel free to call or complete the box on the right side of this page. Ready to get started?