Zillow, an online home estimator, was launched in 2006 with much fanfare. It was lauded by some as “another step in replacing the real estate agent”. And who knows, maybe some day it will. Many real estate agents hate online home estimators, as they continue to be intimidated by technology. While Zillow and others do provide sales prices of your neighbors, it is not intuitive to the point where it can point out differences between your property and the neighbor’s – especilaly condition issues, or recent impovements. I mean, Zillow does not go inside every home. But neither do real estate agents. Does that make them inaccurate? It depends on the agent and how they evaluate your home, but that is a whole different post.
The benefit from online home estimators is simple. They provide the consumer with information which they may have not had access to a year or two ago. It is not always up to date, and when it comes time to telling you what your house is worth, I would trust their answer as much as I would trust the Magic 8 Ball. When it comes to assessing the actual value, however, I suggest you get 3 estimates, 3 different agents, and if your property is highly unique, make the investment and have a respected appraiser do the work for you for about $350.
So, why will my new website (almost ready to launch) include Cyberhomes, a Zillow-like online home estimator? It will increase trafic to my site, it does provide a service, and it is fun.