We have all heard about those FREE online home value estimates offered by companies such as Zillow, Home Value Estimator, etc. If you are seriously looking for the value of your home, do not rely on these sources. I have personally tested these sites and have not been able to get a reliable value.
My home is located on a navigable canal in a rural area. A recent appraisal has valued the property in the mid $400,000’s. Zillow and Yahoo Homevalues were unable to find a value for my property, while Coldwell Banker’s Home Value Estimator was able to give a value range. The problem with the range given is that the home was purchased less than a year ago for more than the highest value in the range and a recent appraisal is almost $100,000 more than the highest value. This is a big difference if these values are being relied on for future real estate planning such as refinancing or selling.
If you live in a suburban area which has had frequent sales, the values may be more reliable, but beware. These values are derived from public records which are not always accurate. These estimates do not adjust for upgrades such as granite, marble, hardwood, inground pools, central air, exterior material, etc. It also does not account for lot size or waterfront properties. The best way to get the most accurate home value is by having a full appraisal done on your property by a licensed real estate appraiser.
For more reasons to have an appraisal done on your property instead of relying on a free home value estimate, check out the ‘About AVMs’ button on my home page. To find a licensed appraiser in your area go to http://appraisalinstitute.org. “Find an appraiser” is at the top left side of the page. But of course if you are in the Hampton Roads Area we would gladly be of service to you! Give us a call or order right on line.