Over the last five years, one of the newest developments in real estate is the ability for home buyers and sellers to search online for a home’s value. According to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee, popular Web sites such a Zillow.com, Cyberhomes.com, and Eppraisal.com offer free home estimates, but some consumers and real estate industry professionals say the values calculated often are inaccurate and misleading.
MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY FOR CONSUMERS
- Online home appraisal Web sites assign home values without knowing the features or upgrades of a home or the neighborhood in which it is located. Some Web sites offer a price range of $20,000 – $40,000 more or less than the actual value of the home.
- Since housing markets are local and not every home of a certain size is the same value, consumers can be misled into believing a home is worth more or less than the actual value. Working with a local REALTOR® can help minimize inaccuracies in home values. REALTORS® can provide local housing market data and show homeowners and buyers recent sales of comparable homes in the area, to help determine an accurate list or offer price.
- While some agents report that Web estimates can educate clients and provide a reasonable assessment of market conditions and the home-buying process, working with a local REALTOR® to assist in interpreting online data is still the best option.