I can’t tell you how often I hear people talk about what they want to offer on a home or what they want to sell their home for based on a website like zillow.com’s home value tool. Unfortunately, these sites are notorious for giving inaccurate information regarding home values and have actually been reprimanded over it. They now have to disclose their margin of error on their site. There is of course no “exact science” to pricing and appraising a home; however those sites are not able to take into account market trends, differences in homes such as upgrades, the difference between foreclosures/short sales vs. regular sales (and if they constitute the “norm” in a particular area), specific locality factors, etc that only a human would be able to do. It can’t pick and choose the correct comps like a human would be able to do, it just pulls everything in a specific mile radius that has the same bedrooms and bathrooms which is wildly inaccurate especially in areas like ours (Northern VA and DC) where home values often vary between neighborhoods and even between streets within a very small vicinity. Only a person who is familiar with an area can actually evaluate the comps on a more granular level and help you determine a range for an appropriate offering or listing price. People are not perfect either but are at least able to analyze the data with a more keen understanding of the local market area and the variables that affect a particular home’s value.
A client of mine actually recently sent me a this article and (believe it or not) it supports my point :). I found it pretty interesting…view it HERE
Happy house hunting or selling!