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Why You Shouldn't Trust Online Home Valuations

Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a house or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to seattle@curbed.com. Today, real estate expert Christian Nossum helps to understand why you shouldn't trust online home valuations.

Every homeowner wants to know what their home is worth. At one time or another most of us have gone to one of those big real estate websites to find our homes estimated value.

Don't put much faith in the estimate that these websites give you!

These websites fully admit that their estimates are not accurate. One of the big players state that 15% of all properties in Seattle have estimates that are more than 20% off. That's a huge price difference!

Why aren't these estimates accurate?

The biggest factor is that they've never seen the interior of your house. Obviously what the interior of your house looks like is a big factor in determining its value. They have no clue if you've made upgrades, remodeled, or if the house is about to tip over.

Furthermore, online estimates are generated by a computer algorithm, and an algorithm can't account for the uniqueness of your home. That's what makes real estate so interesting and what makes pricing a home so difficult.

Online estimates also don't consider other factors like new developments in the neighborhood, transportation improvements that are on the horizon, or general supply and demand in the market.

How can you get an accurate estimate of your homes value?

There are a couple ways to go about this. You could spend hundreds of dollars and hire an appraiser. The appraiser will basically do the same thing as your real estate agent, but your real estate agent will do it for free.

Your real estate agent will create a Comparative Market Analysis, known in the biz as a CMA. It's a compilation of similar properties in the area that have recently sold. Your real estate agent will then come take a quick tour of your house to see the interior so they can compare your house to the properties in the CMA. After considering all of these factors, your agent will come up with a value for your home.

What if I don't want someone to come over to my house?

Being the tech savvy agent that I am, I've figured out a way to give you a pretty accurate property value estimate without having to come over to your house. All you have to do it create a quick video tour of your home with your smartphone and send it to me (don't worry, I have a free app that makes this process super simple). This way I can see the interior of your house and you don't need to schedule time out of your busy day to have me come over. That being said, I am more than happy to come and take a quick 10 minute tour of your home in person if making a video tour sounds like too much work for you.

To find out what free app I recommend you use to make your video tour, click here and fill out the form. Or feel free to call, email, or text me if you have any further questions or are ready for me to come over. I'm here to help out.