Case study: online home valuation sites
Are you tempted to look at online, auto valuation websites to check Los Gatos real estate values? Those online home valuation sites (including mine) can be very tempting. After all, who wouldn’t want a real-time update on home sale prices?
A few times, I’ve had clients or potential clients who relied very heavily on a well known real estate portal for information on “what that home is really worth“. The trouble, of course, is that the folks running the algorithms haven’t been to that street or to that house. They don’t know if it’s exquisitely updated or if it’s in a state of ruin. They don’t know if it seems well loved or if it has terrible odors.
Usually the portals have a very wide target. One of them claims that they want to be within 20% of the market value 80% of the time. Let that soak in. For a million dollar home, that’s a range of $800,000 to $1,200,000 not all the time but 80% of the time!
More convincing than my saying, “hey, that site is usually way off”, I like to just demonstrate what happens when I plunk a property’s address into a number of these auto valuation sites. I find the range of estimated pricing to be very compelling. Please have a look at the wide range of projected values – all for the same home & land!
How would you like to own a home worth $2.6 million and hear that it’s worth $1.6 million from online home valuation sites? Or what if you put your condo on the market based on this kind of pricing, only to find that it was 20% off?
No, the better approach is to have a relationship with a local Realtor who can help you determine the probable buyer’s value for your home. It’s never going to be one exact price, because each buyer will have different terms, motivation, ability, and so on. If you get a lot of offers all at one, it will shoot the price high. If it takes more than 3 weeks to sell and you get just one buyer, it will be lower.
Online home valuation sites can be fun, but please remember that most of the time, they aren’t very accurate. Want help knowing if you have enough equity to sell? Please call or email me and we can meet and go over market conditions, the comparable sales, improvements that will give a good return on value, and the marketing needed to obtain your best price so that you can make an informed decision.