What's your home worth- Online Calculators3/8/2019
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH ONLINE CALCULATORS?
When figuring out your home’s value, you might be tempted to see what popular real estate
sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia have to say. When you use an online calculator to determine
your home’s value on these sites, it is just an estimate. It’s not an actual appraisal or the
“true market value.” These sites all have their own algorithms for coming up with their
estimates. For example, Zillow comes up with their “Zestimates” by calculating “public and
user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions.” 5
These online estimates can be a great starting point for opening up the conversation with your
real estate agent about your home’s worth. But even Zillow recommends that you use a real
estate agent for coming up with the actual market value of your home. The site says that once
you get your “Zestimate,” you should still get “a comparative market analysis from a real estate
Having an agent like myself involved in this process is essential because we understand the market
better than a computer ever could. Agents are showing property in your city every single day, and
they know the particular preferences of buyers and sellers in the area. Young professionals, large
families, empty-nesters, and other groups are all looking for different things in a home. A local agent
has most likely worked with all of them, so they understand what every segment in your market is
specifically looking for.
HOW AN AGENT FINDS YOUR HOME’S TRUE MARKET VALUE
So, how does an actual real estate agent determine true market value? They’ll start by doing a
comparative market analysis (CMA). This means they’ll compare your home’s features to similar
properties in your area. For the CMA, the agent looks at the below factors to influence their
assessment of your home’s worth:6
Neighborhood sales - Your agent will look at similar, recently sold homes in your
neighborhood to see what they sold for and what they have in common with your house.
The exterior - What does your home look like from the outside? Your agent will factor in
curb appeal, the style of the house, the front and backyard, and anything else that impacts
how the house looks to everyone walking and driving by.
The interior - This is everything inside the walls of the house. Square footage, number of
bedrooms and bathrooms, appliances, and more all influence the overall market value.
Age of the home - Whether you have a newer or older home affects the number your
agent comes up with as part of their assessment.
Style of the home - The style of your home is important because buyers in different
markets have different tastes. If buyers prefer ranch-style homes and you have one, then
your home may sell for a premium (aka more money!).
Market trends - Because a local agent has so much experience in your market, they have
their finger on the pulse of your area’s trends and know what buyers are willing to pay for
a property like yours.
Location, location, location - This one’s probably the most obvious. Your agent will think
about how popular the area is and what schools are like.
A computer algorithm simply can’t take all of these factors into account when calculating
the value of your home. The reality is, nothing beats the accuracy of a real estate agent or
professional appraiser when it comes to determining a home’s true market value.
YOUR AGENT IS THERE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
Determining a home’s true market value is a real estate agent’s forte. If you’re a seller,
your agent will help you find your home’s market value so you can list it at the right price.
For buyers, your agent will help you determine the value so you can come up with a fair offer.
Your agent can also set up a personalized home search on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
for you so you’ll receive emails of listings that meet your criteria. This will help you see what’s
out there in your city and how properties are being priced.
Get a Complimentary Report With Your Home’s True Market Value
Curious about your home’s true market value? Call us to request a free, no-obligation Comparative
Market Analysis to find out exactly how much your home is worth!