In today’s world, most buyers and sellers begin their real estate intelligence gathering by turning to Internet resources such as Zillow, Trulia and Redfin. However, online price estimates might be little more than an algorithm’s best guess–and with thousands of dollars at stake, relying on their information could be a costly mistake.
Online estimates can provide you with a broad guideline, but that information should be contrasted with other resources, and here’s why:
Home value websites provide estimates based on data (property tax information, recent home sales, etc.). Unfortunately, the data used shows just a part of the picture. For example, the statistics found in court-house records won’t reflect things such as the view, landscaping, remodeling, condition and wear, curb appeal, fine fixtures and materials, floor plan, room sizes, neighbors and the appeal (or potential problems) of neighboring properties, access, noise, odors, design, the owner’s taste–and all the other human factors that comprise a good chunk of a home’s value.
If you really want to know what your home is worth in the current market, a comparable market analysis from a local real estate agent and a professional appraisal of the home are the best ways to learn its likely value. The appraiser will measure each room, as “square footage” is often an area where mistakes are made in online statistics. They’ll look at the lot, the view, the upgrades, etc. Then they’ll factor in the recent sales data for the area for the most accurate appraisal o a home’s value.
The cost of having a professional appraisal in the Front Range has risen in the past few years, but if you’re serious about selling your home, having one conducted is well worth the money. Consider that you can make a home pricing mistake that can cost you tens of thousands of dollars simply by relying on a website estimate.
If you are planning to get into the market soon, take advantage of the comprehensive resources available to you when you work with a real estate professional. Call and let’s talk about a strategy just for you.
-Jo Pellegrino, your real estate professional