How Reliable Are Home Valuation Tools?
Posted in Selling by Kenady Swan
What’s your home worth?
It seems like a simple question, but finding that answer is more complicated than it might seem. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, Eppraisal, and others have built-in home valuation tools that make it seem easy, but how accurate are they? And which one do you believe if you get three different answers? Online valuation tools have become a key part of the home buying and selling process, but they’ve been proven to be highly unreliable in certain instances. One thing that is for certain is that these valuation tools have reinforced that real estate agents are as vital to the process of pricing a home as they ever were – and maybe even more so now.
There are limitations to every online valuation tool. Most are readily acknowledged by their providers, such as Zillow’s “Zestimate”, which clearly states that it offers a median error rate of 5%, with varying accuracy across the country. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that amounts to a difference of about $35,000 for a $700,000 home. For Redfin and Trulia, there are similar ranges in results. When you dig deeper into these valuation tools, it’s no small wonder that there are discrepancies, as they rely on a range of different sources for information, some more reliable than others.
Redfin’s tool pulls information directly from multiple listing services (MLSs) all over the country. Others negotiate limited data sharing deals with those same services, but also rely on public records, as well as homeowners’ records. This can lead to gaps in coverage. These tools can serve as helpful pieces of the puzzle when buying or selling a home, but the acknowledged error rate is a reminder of the dangers of relying too heavily on them.
Home valuation tools can be a useful starting point in the real estate process, but nothing compares to the level of detail and knowledge a professional real estate agent offers when pricing a home. An algorithm can’t possibly know about a home’s unique characteristics or those of the surrounding neighborhood. They also can’t answer your questions about what improvements you can make to get top dollar or how buyer behaviors are shaping the market. All of this – and more – can only be delivered by a trusted professional whose number one priority is getting you the best price in a time frame that meets your needs.
If you’re curious what your home might be worth, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations about your property and the surrounding market. And once you’re ready, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent who can clarify this information and perform a Comparative Market Analysis to get an even more accurate estimate of what your home could sell for in today’s market.
You know those boxes that have been sitting in the attic for the last 25 years? Keepsakes, gift wrap, random wires you have no idea where they connect to? These boxes matter.
It becomes costly when moving, and every little thing does add up quickly. It may seem like a daunting task, but the relief you will have when you go from 12 large boxes of wasted space to 5 will be liberating (we promise 😊)
There are so many things that land on our shelves and gets tucked away in storage just because it “might be useful someday,” or because you simply don’t know what to do with it. RULE OF THUMB: If you haven’t used it in over a year, or if you see no immediate use for it in the coming six months, purge it from your life and give it away, sell it, or toss it in the trash. You may even want to have a garage sale, or sell items to a thrift store. Here’s a good list to remember when you come across the hard stuff:
1. A great rule of thumb is if it were gone tomorrow and you wouldn’t really miss it–toss it.
2. Pictures can be scanned and put to a CD/album. Throw away doubles. Organize into smaller containers to preserve and avoid weather damage.
3. If you don’t know what the cord/battery/electronic is for, bye-bye. There are many great websites that will buy old phones, iPods and electronics if you’d like to take the extra step. Contact your city to find where to rid of the E-waste.
4. Cheap Holiday items. No sentimental value? Toss them. You can re-invest when you’re ready