Home valuation websites help or hindrance?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Premier Choice

Do valuation websites help consumers or are they misinformation?

I received a call last week from a client who wanted to sell their aunts house in Columbus, Ohio.   My client lives out of town and asked me to do a CMA for the property.  I email the analysis for her review.

 The next day she gave me a call with a couple of questions.  It seem a friend had told her about this great new website Zillow where you could get instant valuations of properties.  Zillow was giving a value of $40,000 more for the property then my CMA and she wondered why?  I had valued the house in the $160,000 range.

 How many times has this happened to you?  This is at least my fifth case this year of a homeowner questioning my CMA accuracy because a web site had given them a higher value. It has become such an issue that before a listing presentation I will look up a property on Zillow, Truila, Realtor.com, ect.

 The Columbus Dispatch wrote a great article yesterday titled: Value judgments, Web sites' guesses on house prices vary widely from actual sales, comparison shows.  A great read for any agent or homeowner. 

 How they fared:  The average valuation difference from sales price on 27 home sales in Columbus, Ohio between December 3-4 2009.

 Chase Bank- 9%

Cyberhomes- 13%

Eppraisal- 13%

Realestate.com- 25%

Realtor.com- 13%

Zillow- 17%


I explained to my client that these valuation websites don't take into consideration things like; market conditions, location, Rail Road tracks, property condition, lot characteristic, busy roads, power lines, ect, ect.

 Are these websites good tools or they giving consumers unrealistic expectations?

Comments (2)

Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I do think it helps in a sense where it gives consumers/ owners a ballpark range. But what it cannot do is a human evaluation of the analysis.

Dec 21, 2009 02:34 AM
Bonner Thomason
Keller Williams Realty - Kernersville, NC
CRS, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

I will often check several of these site in order to address them in the CMA. This at least adds a bit to the validity of my CMA.


Dec 21, 2009 02:40 AM