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Can You Trust An Online Estimate For Your Home?




***Edited 2/26/17

If you’ve considered selling your house this spring, you’ve probably done some online investigating as well. Maybe you were even pleasantly surprised to see your home valued for even more than you thought per Zillow. But the real question is: can you trust that online estimate?

It’s true that internet sites have changed house-hunting.There once was a time where home buyers had to rely on word-of-mouth insight or a REALTOR to find homes for sale. Perhaps they even drove around the neighborhoods they were interested in, looking for FOR SALE signs in the yard. Not anymore.

Today, most homebuyers start a home search by looking online first. This can be great because home buyers can quickly review multiple listings in multiple areas, which saves time. What’s not always great are the online estimates that accompany these listings. Sites such as Trulia, Zillow and Redfin are all fantastic sites that provide a lot of accurate information about homes for sale. However, we say homeowners should watch out for the online estimates or home values provided.

We can hear you asking (especially if you LIKE the values you are seeing online): why might these estimates be wrong? First, online value estimators are driven by computers and algorithms. This system is designed to have the computer compare a house against other homes in the area that have recently sold. Thus, it lacks the ability to “see” unusual characteristics that a human appraiser would find. This could mean the online estimate is significantly lower than what the home would actually appraise for in the end. (Huge sigh of relief for those of you who found your values to be LOWER than expected).

The other problem with online estimates is that the home owner can often go in and “claim” a home. This means a homeowner has the ability to adjust the information until it reaches a desired value. This could mean the online estimate is significantly higher than what the home would actually appraise for in the end.

These are just a couple of examples of what might affect an online estimate for your home. This article has several other warning signs that what you see online is not right. Finding online information about a home for sale is a great place to start, but should never be relied upon without help from a REALTOR to determine its accuracy.

Looking at your home’s online estimate and want to know if it would sell for that amount?  Try our FREE online home valuation tool here  or call DeSelms Real Estate today at 615.550.5565 and let one of award-winning agents help you!

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