Free Online Home Appraisals
Are you worried about the value of your home in today's economy? Despite a few bright spots in the real estate market, and historic low mortgage rates, the economy continues to wreak havoc on property values. Here are some online tools you can use to help determine the value of your home...
What Is Your House Worth? Find Out for FREE!
For many decades, a house was considered an asset almost guaranteed to appreciate in value, and a means of saving for the future. But all that has changed. The value of your house is more important than ever, given the uncertainty in the economy, and with so many homeowners facing bankruptcy or foreclosure.
These free online tools to help you determine how much your house is worth should come in handy. And if you're in the market to buy a house, they can help decide if the asking price is reasonable.
Zillow - Automated Online House Values
Zillow offers free automated appraisals on over 110 million homes across the USA. You can see the estimated value of your house, your neighbor's house, or just about any other home -- whether it's for sale, for rent, in foreclosure, or not even on the market.
Zillow pulls information from public real estate records, tax rolls and other sources to compute a house value. Zillow also offers advice on real estate, mortgages and foreclosures. For mobile users, Zillow has free apps that you can download and install on your iPhone, iPad, or any Windows or Android-based smartphone.
One of its best features is their Make Me Move. This allows you to flag your home as "For Sale", edit the condition of your home and update it should you do necessary repairs or add to its value with improvements. You can also add photos and descriptive text. Prospective buyers who are browsing the Zillow site can contact you to make an offer. It's important to remember that the house values that Zillow calculates are estimates, automatically generated by a computer program. I still recommend that you contact a realtor when you're in the market to buy or sell a home.
Eppraisal - Another House Value Option
Eppraisal.com is another free online service that allows anyone to access property valuations. Like Zillow, this service pulls together public record data from millions of homes to give you an estimated value range. In my personal experience, Eppraisal generates a more realistic estimate of house values, as compared to Zillow. But they also list the Zillow "zestimate" alongside their own figure.
Here's an Eppraisal tip: After entering the address of the home, you'll see the Valuation Estimates in a box on the right-hand side of the page. Click the "View More Details" link inside that box, and you'll get more useful information. If you're selling a home, considering a refinance, or just curious about recent sales in your neighborhood, Eppraisal can provide information to help in your decision making process.
It's good to check several sources to get the best estimate of your home's value. Here are a few other sites where you can get a free instant home appraisal online:
- Yahoo Real Estate
- AOL Real Estate
- Chase Home Value Estimator
- RealEstate.com Free Home Value Estimator
Note: The RealEstate.com estimator wants you to cough up your name, email address and phone number so they can send you a report and put you in touch with a real estate agent. But if you press the BACK button and then the FORWARD button, that popup goes away, and you can see the report immediately.
HouseValues - A Tool For Sellers
HouseValues will provide home sellers an estimate of what a property is worth. They do this by comparing your home with others in your neighborhood, as well as factoring the age, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and amenities such as large yard, 2-car garage, etc. You simply fill out a form with the above information and the timeframe for when you would like to sell your house. The information is forwarded to a Licensed Real Estate professional to be processed.
Unlike Zillow and Eppraisal, HouseValues is not really useful for BUYERS who want to scope out the values of various homes in a specific area. This service is focused on SELLERS, and DOES NOT provide the instant gratification of an online estimate. After filling out the form on HouseValues, you will be contacted by a real human real estate agent, by phone, mail or email. And that person will of course want to help you sell your house on a commission basis. There's nothing wrong with using a real estate professional to help you buy or sell a house. In fact, you will probably get a better estimate of the true value of your home from a real person than a computer.
I just want to point out that HouseValues is primarily a lead generation tool for real estate agents, and they don't really live up to the promise on their home page to deliver "your home's market value online." There are other sites like this one, where you can tell you're not going to get an instant online house valuation based on the fact that they ask for your email or phone number up front.
Although it's possible to save money by not using a licensed realtor, there are certain cautions. Real estate agents can help you determine the optimal selling price for your home, and will advise you when market conditions make it a good idea to lower or raise your asking price. They handle the negotiation process, and help you avoid various pitfalls. And of course using online house value estimators like these will not tell you about fighting neighbors, screaming kids, dogs barking at all hours or nearby toxic waste sites. Do some research and never buy a piece of property without seeing it first, and getting a thorough home inspection from a professional.
Do you have something to say about online appraisal tools? Do you know of other useful online tools for home buyers and sellers? Post your comments below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 23 Jul 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Online Home Appraisals (Posted: 23 Jul 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved