How to Tell if Your Home’s Online Estimate is Off
One of the hardest parts of selling a home can be agreeing on a fair listing price. With the increase in popularity of online real estate sites like Trulia and Zillow, homeowners have better access to estimates than ever before. However, these estimates can sometimes differ significantly from appraisals, comparable properties, or bank automated valuations. Below are some red flags that may indicate that your home’s online estimate is off.
- You live in an older neighborhood
If you live in an older neighborhood or a historic home, there is a greater chance that public records for your property may be off. As online estimators work by comparing characteristics such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, discrepancies in these records can impact your home’s estimate. Likewise, any work that was completed without the proper permits can negatively affect estimates.
- Your house was renovated without permits
Additions, finished, basements or attics, and renovated spaces all add value to your home. However, if this work was done without the proper permits, it can negatively impact your home value. Home estimates are based on the public record; if your home’s improvements were not recorded there, it will not be reflected in the estimate.
- Your neighborhood is near a dissimilar district
Because online estimators use nearby properties to average a home’s worth, any major changes within a few blocks can impact your estimate. For example, if you live near a school district boundary, homes in the nearby district will be used in estimate your home’s value.
- Your house has unique features
Whether you live in a converted lighthouse, back up to the 18th hole, or have a cultivated English garden in your backyard, your home’s unique features may not be reflected in its estimate. While appraisers and buyers will be able to appreciate these unique features, an online estimator will often not take them into account.
- There have been significant market changes
If home prices in your area are on the rise – or in a nosedive – these changes may not be reflected in online estimates. Likewise, if homes do not sell very often in your area – such as with country properties – online estimators have no comparable sales with which to compare your home.
While online estimators can be a good tool, they in no way represent a hard-and-fast price point that needs to be used. Instead, knowing how to tell if your home’s online estimate is off can help you find out the actual value of your home and list it for what it is truly worth.