Free Home Valuation and How To Do Your Own Comps

The house search continues as we try to see how much our parents’ house is really worth and if we can afford to live near them. Besides Zillow.com, I also like the home valuation tool from HomeGain, where you can get a real estimate from a local real estate agent for your house. It’s low pressure, they just e-mail you their estimate and ask if you are looking to buy or sell right now. We were definitely surprised by the number – Zillow was off a lot, mostly due to wrong square footage.

What I really like is that you also get a listing of actual houses that sold recently in the area, with all the stats like address, sale date, square footage, bedrooms, year built, and of course price. And you can keep getting updates every month for free. That way, you can do your own comps and try to spot trends. Burst, bubble, burst!

Comments

  1. Don’t forget propertyshark.com , domania.com , realestateabc.com

  2. Eh, I am also looking for a home and would also like if prices would fall. The media always makes it seem that it is so bad, but right now its just a normal market and prices are still going up, however inflated they are.

  3. Have you tried http://www.zillow.com? I like them because they give you an instant read out of what’s already sold in your area and a map to view them on.

  4. Zillow.com’s estimates are usually 10-15% lower than actual market prices. I like their visual maps on each of the properties though. Home Gain’s comp isn’t very accurate either. First, you want to pull comps that’s close to the house you are looking at. If the nearest sale is over 5 miles away, it could be in a totally different subdivision and different school district. The property value can be quite different.

    I found this tool from Bank of America website to be very helpful:
    http://www.bankofamerica.com/modular/index.cfm?template=
    hc_home_worth_modular&app=oma&sitename=modular

    The report is much more accurate and the comparable sales are very close in distance and overall size/year-built.

    I would suggest you to get a realtor just for the fun (or pain) of it. Interview several of them, tell them that in order to check out their ability and qualification, you want them to send you CMA (comparative market analysis) reports through email. These MLS comps are much much more accurate than anything you see from the web. They simply have more data for you to check out and they can be queried based on schools too. It takes 5 minutes for an agent to pull those report based on your search creteria and send it to you through email. By doing that, they are hoping on you hiring them so that they can make 3% of that $500k house you are going to buy. So don’t feel bad asking for these “free” services. Think this is their resumes for the job. Only hire (sign an contract) the realtor when you are fully ready to buy and you feel comfortable to work with him/her.

    Pick the right realtor can be a pretty touch thing to do just by itself.

  5. Zillow is good, but as you mentioned not exactly accurate, tends to run a bit on the low side. Zip Realty is another good one, again- comps not completely accurate, tends to run a bit on the high side! (There are so many now it’s ridiculous! lol) No bursting bubble, just market correction. Although to look at many houses (I’m in Phx) listed, you would think people really don’t have any idea of how many houses are on the market right now! This is getting to be a fabulous time to buy for sure!

  6. Zillow’s a bit on the high side for the house that I’m actually buying.

    Ask price: 209k
    Sales price: 201k

    Appraisal: 203k
    Zillow: 210k

  7. Anonymous says:

    Zillow’s abougt 40k (10%) over the selling price for my townhouse in Northern Virginia. I’m guessing they error on the high side in “hot” markets while going a bit under on cooler ones. In the end, it woudl all equal out…

  8. To say zillow is low, it just depends on your area, it’s much higher in my area. It’s around 20k higher than what’s the true value

  9. Anonymous says:

    You can sign up for a free comp analysis from HomeGain that comes from an actual realtor. We did this before we put our home up for sale with a flat-fee realtor that basically just listed on the MLS. The home-valuation tools at HomeGain and Bank of America were not accurate at all for our house. They listed houses that were in totally different neighborhoods.

    Zillow, however, was almost spot-on in its estimate for our house. I think Zillow probably varies in accuracy depending on how many houses have sold in your neighborhood lately and how homogeneous the houses in your neighborhood are. For suburbia around Dallas, it does quite well.

  10. Bigmouth, HomeGain gives comps and a CMA as well by an actual agent

  11. MoveUp.com has a pretty interesting self appraisal tool too.

  12. In addition to Zillow and Home Gain, check out http://www.domania.com (register for free). The comps are pretty good.

  13. I prefer RealEstateABC for home valuations. They’re way more accurate than Zillow.

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