What's My Home Worth

 

It is not unusual for a homeowner to want to know what is “my home worth?”

The reasons can be varied…. Planning on selling, refinancing, just curious, etc….

But whatever the reason you are seeking the value of your home, you want to know with a degree of certainty what your home's value might be.

Where Do You Get Your Home's Value?

You have several options to get the value of your home all with a varying degree of accuracy.  Some other ways of getting your home's value can be instantaneous. Unfortunately quick does not always go hand in hand with accuracy.

The Zillow Zestimate

The Zestimate by Zillow is one very common way to get a quick idea of what your home may be worth.  Zillow Zestimate’s is one of many AVM’s or Automated Value Model, that will return the value of your home by plugging in a street address.  The process takes only a few minutes to use Zillow to estimate the value of your home.

Almost every national real estate site offers a value model to determine a price for your home.  These sites include Realtor.com, Redfin, Zillow’s Zestimate and more.  Today many individual real estate agents or brokerage websites offer some form of getting an automated value for your home.  My AVM is powered by Black Knight which is used in the mortgage industry to double-check appraisal values and is considered fairly accurate.

Whats Is An AVM or Automated Value Model?

Automated Value Models. Like the Zestimate, use an algorithm to calculate the potential home value.  The AVM use sales history, tax information and property characteristics to formulate what a home is worth. 

How Accurate Is The Zestimate And Other AVM’s?

AVM’s can certainly give you an idea of what a home might be worth with a wide degree of accuracy.  A few years ago I did a comparison of all the homes sold in Tewksbury MA and ran the Zestimate model to determine the accuracy of the Zestimate.

The takeaway was that overall there was a 17% spread on the accuracy.  Overall all it was 6.2% short on property values.  Not bad, it gets you in the ballpark, but it also left on average $22,000.  Who wants to do that?!!

On another note a ran a home I just sold 2 years ago and the value between a bunch of AVM.s was less than +/- 3% of what I had estimated the sales price of the home to be.

Find Your Home's Value Instantaneously with Home Value Estimator!!

What Makes The Difference?

The AVM lacks any ability to make determinations as far as the value of a location, particular neighborhood, age, condition and other data points that are more subjective.  AVM’s work strictly off statistical data. 

The more homogeneous the house for a particular community, the more accurate the AVM will be.  There will be areas of the country where AVM’s can be more accurate than others.  But here in New England, we have such a swing in the age and variety of housing to get an accurate Zestimate most of the time.

 

The More Accurate Way To Determine Your Homes Value

Comparative Market Analysis or CMA

If you need a more accurate value for your home, you should have a REALTOR® prepare a Comparative Market Analysis or (CMA). 

A REALTOR® will select comparable homes to compile a Compartive Market Analysis for you.  Ideally, they select homes that have recently sold of similar age, condition and style and are located in the same neighborhood as the subject property.

Since no two properties are the same, a REALTOR® may have to make slight adjustments based on the criteria of the home.  

Usually, 3-5 properties will be used and then averaged for an accurate value of a home.

Where the AVM falls short compared to a CMA is on the adjustments.  The computer algorithm of an AVM can’t make the dissertation between two houses in the same neighborhood, one being on a cul de sac and the other being on a busy corner.  Or one home bing completely remodeled and the other being original. 

You get the idea, you need an experienced professional to make those subjective adjustments to get an accurate value of a home that a computer just can’t make.

Appraisal

An appraisal is another way to get an accurate home value.  When creating an appraisal the appraiser will use similar techniques to a REALTOR® preparing a CMA under strict guidelines.  The big difference is an appraiser is certifying the information to be accurate and guidelines for appraising the property have been met.

An appraisal is a route to go when you have multiple people involved in a sale like an estate, there is court involvement like divorce and of course a property must be appraised when bank financing is involved.

Summary

There are several ways to get a projected market value for your home.  There is a time and place to use each method.

An AVM is good if you are just curious, thinking of refinancing or if you are many months away from listing your home.  It gets you in the ballpark.

If you are ready to list your home, then a CMA is the way to go. 

An appraisal is good if you need the certified value for court or in some cases if a REALTOR® is having a difficult time comping a property.

Any route you go remember your home's value is only good for that snippet in time.  Prices fluctuate and a few months can make a big difference in value.

Other Home Pricing Resources

Jeff Nelson provides some excellent advice on pricing your home to sell.  His advice is to not rely on the Zillow Zestimate but to get a CMA to get an accurate value of your home.

Home improvements don’t always add value to a home.  Sharon Paxson provides 10 home improvements that may detract from the value of your home.

Whats My Home Worth? Finding Your Home's Value, is provided by Kevin Vitali a Massachusetts Real Estate Agent. If you are looking to buy or sell a home call Kevin at 978-360-0422.