What’s the Best Way to Determine Your Home Value?
Having an accurate idea of your home value can be important for a variety of reasons. Maybe you are thinking about selling your home, or maybe your insurance company needs to know.
Whatever your reasons, if you try searching online for a good home valuation tool, the confusing tangle of options can be overwhelming.
Why is such a simple question so hard to answer?
As it turns out, figuring out your home’s value is a lot more difficult than you might think.
Why Everyone Wants to Tell You What Your Home is Worth
If you do a Google search for “what is my home worth?” you will get approximately 314 million results — seriously. So why do so many websites want to help you figure out what your home is worth?
Some of the responses are from lenders who are betting on your desire to either refinance your home or sell it and buy a new one. Likewise, many real estate companies offer to help you find an answer.
But many of these sites simply want to capture your data so they can sell it to someone else (real estate agents, lenders, etc.). After all, you have to provide your address to get an estimate of your property value.
So can you trust the answer?
Stay Skeptical When Calculating Your Home’s Value Online
Even if you’re willing to give up your personal information — and wade through all the email and snail mail spam it will inevitably generate — can you trust the home value information you get in return?
Let’s use one of the most popular home valuation sites today as an example — we’ll call it Zillow.
If you enter a property address on Zillow, the estimated home value you get back is derived by a computer algorithm that quickly looks at sales data for nearby homes. But because this algorithm doesn’t have great data to work with — and because it is not particularly sophisticated (despite what Zillow might have you believe) — it misses a lot of important information.
As you might guess from the class-action lawsuit that is pending right now, automated home value estimators rarely produce truly reliable data — and that can cause a lot of problems.
Who Can You Trust for Determining Your Home Value?
As advanced as computer technology is today, some jobs still require a human touch. Determining your house’s value is one of them. You could trust a local appraiser, but that will cost you.
The only other person you can trust for an accurate estimate of value is a licensed Realtor® who is active in your local market.
Knowing what the house across the street from you sold for only gives you a part of the picture — the same limited part that Zillow gets. A Realtor® can determine whether the house had some type of problem or whether any financial considerations were given between buyer and seller, as well as other information that can significantly affect value.
An agent can also use human logic to compare the details of your home — finishes, condition, etc. — to others that have sold. No automated system can do that. And the best part is that a Realtor® won’t charge you anything for this valuable service, nor will they sell your information to anyone (let alone to half the internet).
If you need help with buying or selling a property, or if you would like to know what your accurate Southern California home value is, contact the Edie Israel Team today.