Do online home value estimators really work? How accurate (or inaccurate) are they? Can you trust what they tell you? This post will carefully examine three popular online home valuation tools and will provide some guidance on which one will give you the best ballpark pricing estimate for your home.
Market prices change frequently, and in order to figure out how to price your home, you need to stay current on comparable properties in your area.
You also need to know how long it takes those properties to close and what the final sale price on the home is. Why? Because you don’t want to leave money on the table or cost yourself time on the market with a price far too high to attract buyers.
Whew – seems like a tall order for someone who doesn’t work as a professional real estate expert, right? Luckily, there are a number of online tools to help you fine tune your price and make sure you’re being as level-headed as possible.
Ultimately, when it's time to sell, having an agent to help you price your home is invaluable. There's a reason why agented homes sell for 26% percent more than homes sold by owner.
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Top 3 Free Home Valuation Tools
1. Zillow Zestimate
We’ve talked about Zestimates before. Zillow offers a great tool to give you a good ballpark figure of what your home might be worth. We phrase it this way on purpose. It’s a solid tool that’s been around a long time, but it’s not precise.
In fact, the price can be up to 7.8% inaccurate. This tool is easy to use to come up with a base price, but not one to set in stone and list your house at. It is a good way to get an idea of what area you’ll land price-wise when you start the process.
2. Zillow Price This Home Tool
Zillow launched this tool in December of 2015, and it offers a significantly more thorough evaluation than the Zestimate tool they’ve been offering for years. With the Price This Home tool, homeowners can add specific information to the estimator tool to arrive at a more precise value.
It also lets you compare your home to similar homes in the neighborhood with similar features, and price checks against those homes based on their listing price, sale price and time on the market. Because of these additional checks and balances, this tool promises a significantly better accuracy than the Zestimate can offer. It’s suspected that this tool was created to compete with Redfin’s traditionally more accurate Home Value Estimator.
3. Redfin Home Value Estimator
Redfin’s Home Value Estimator touts “the lowest published error rate” when compared to other online home estimators. While it’s historically the most accurate online pricing tool, Zillow’s Price This Home promises to be comparable.
Redfin’s tool allows you to compare your home against hard data on all of the other properties on the MLS and get the most accurate current value. You can use the tool as often as you like to check for changes in the market and price.
The downside is, Redfin doesn’t have as many homes listed, so there may be instances where your listing data isn’t available. Check out this post for more differences between Zillow and Redfin’s home valuation tools.
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