Pros and Cons to Calculating Your Home's Value Online

This article is straight from The Wall Street Journal's real estate section. Right off, it makes the point the property owners have come to see their home like it's a stock, with an equity value to use as a pool for more acquisitions. Read on to see how the author tested out several online systems for arriving at a value, to find out that a very broad range was quoted instead of one specific price. A single price, however, was quoted through the Zillow.com and Realestateabc.com sites. (Through my own experience, I can tell you that Zillow may quote a price not agreed with by me in my own market analysis, whether too hight or too low.) An offsite appraiser was finally contacted, and the appraiser's opinion lowered drastically after he visited the home to a range that approximated that of Zillow.com's and Realestateabc.com's estimate. Be aware though, that even though sites that use property tax sales as the basis for their database, and which would be the same one's a Realtor would use, do not include other important condition information--the sale amount alone does not tell all, just as the appraiser's estimate changed after he saw the house.
Oneline estimates are great tools, but should be almost always considered as a preliminary ballpark figure at best, as sometimes the value of your home could be very greatly overestimated or underestimated.

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