I am frequently asked, “What is my home worth?” This is a very important question! You need an accurate estimate so you can sell your home at the best time to get the most money. Unfortunately many people go to the wrong sources for their home value. This leads to unrealistic expectations (if over-priced) or missed opportunities (if under-priced). Here are common sources of bad information and where you can go for a better estimate.
Bad Source #1 – Zillow
Many people go online and try to get their home value from Zillow, commonly called a “Zestimate”. Zillow is a bad source for home values because it can be hundreds of thousands of dollars OFF! (tweet this) They are anywhere from $100,000 too low to $100,000 too high. That is a HUGE discrepancy. You can’t really rely on that can you?
Why is Zillow inaccurate? Zillow bases it’s estimates on public records submitted to the state. One problem, Utah is a non-disclosure state. This means that when you buy a home you don’t have to tell the state how much you paid for it. As a result, Zillow doesn’t have access to complete or accurate data. Consequently their estimates are off. Additionally, even in states where Zillow does have access to accurate information, their formulas can’t analyze the emotional appeal that some homes offer over others.
Full-time, professional real estate agents have a good pulse on the current state of the market. Because they’re constantly evaluating homes and writing offers they can give an educated estimate on your home’s value. They also work with buyers and see their emotional reactions to certain features. They can determine trends among buyers and see what homes show well. Full-time agents are not dependent upon a single home sale, so they are less likely to list a home at a high price just to get the deal. They’ll give you a realistic expectation of what your home can sell for even if that means you should not sell you home.
Neighborhood Experts are a rare kind of real estate agent that focus their efforts in a specific geographical area. This gives them intimate knowledge of pricing trends in the market. They usually focus in an area close to their home. This helps them stay involved in the community and they are vested in improving the area. They also know additional factors that can impact the value of your home such as proposed area improvements.
Good Source #2 – Local Market Reports
Your home’s value can change rapidly with the market. Keeping a close eye on your neighborhood will help you know when values in your area are going up. This will let you know when you need to contact your local Neighborhood Expert for a complete analysis. You can sign up for a FREE Local Market Snapshot here.