Your home value matters. For most people, a home is their largest asset. Understanding the value of the home is important if you ever want to sell, refinance or borrow against your home’s value. Most ways of determining your home’s value are more art than science.
If you choose to do a mortgage refinance and possibly pull cash out of your home, your lender will order an appraisal, and a person will put a value on your home. If you choose to sell your home a realtor will find comparable homes and your ultimate value will be determined by what someone else is willing to pay.
However, if you want to track your home’s value over time, a number of online home appraisal sites can help you understand your home’s value better. A word of caution: the value these sites give you are estimates only, and can materially differ from what your home is actually worth.
To play around with some of the online home appraisal apps on the market and to learn more about your home’s value, read on below.
Outside of providing a place for your family to live, your home is an important part of your financial plan, too.
Here’s why it matters:
So, if you are actively considering a mortgage refinance or a home equity loan, your best option is to get a free quote. You can see what your rate will be and how much you can get approved for, by selecting your state below.
Convinced? Here are websites that make the task of tracking your home’s value easy and fun:
Zillow is one of the biggest – and most popular – websites for monitoring your home’s value. One financial advisor I spoke to, Joseph Carbone, says the best part about Zillow is the layout of the site and how easy it is to use.
Just by entering your home’s value into the website’s friendly interface, you’ll get a Zestimate – a Zillow-created estimate of your home’s value. Beyond finding out how much your home might be worth, you can also shop for homes in your area with the website’s consumer-friendly tools.
How to find your home’s value: Type in your address and Zillow will immediately let you know if they have a Zestimate for your home. You can also create an account, claim your home, and get regular updates on any changes in value. They have really set the bar high for all the other free home value estimators that exist today.
Trulia.com works similarly to Zillow. Once you reach the website, you can enter your home address and learn how much your home might be worth. Instead of offering a Zestimate, however, Trulia offers the average listing price for similar homes in your area.
Other information offered on Trulia includes the average list price for all homes in your area, along with standard details on your home – square footage, lot size, and bed/bath information.
If you plan to refinance your home, Trulia is also ready to help with its own approved set of lenders.
How to find your home’s value: After searching your address on the home screen, you’ll be brought to a page with a lot of information about your house and property, and you’ll be asked to contact them for an estimate.
Another website that has become popular among real estate enthusiasts and homeowners is Redfin Estimate. With Redfin, you can enter a handful of details about any property and learn about the local neighborhood, the “walkability” of a property, and how much property taxes cost each year.
Plus, values might be slightly more accurate on this website, notes financial advisor Sanchez.
“As a broker, Redfin uses the most accurate data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to calculate your property’s current market value”Jose V. Sanchez
How to find your home’s value: Redfin gives you an immediate estimate of your homes value just by entering your home address into the search bar on the homepage and selecting “See Home Estimate”. While calculating, they give you a breakdown of how they make their estimates.
While Realtor.com might sound like a hub for real estate professionals, this website is free for anyone to use. Just enter your house address into the site’s homepage and you’ll learn an array of details including a price estimate of your home.
Beyond a pricing estimate, you’ll find out about the local schools, median listing prices in the area, and even property tax assessments. This tool is also great for learning about your neighbor’s home and how much they might be paying.
How to find your home’s value: Type in your address in the search bar, selecting “Home Value”, and you’ll get an immediate estimate, with the option to sign up for an account, claim your home, and get regular updates tracking its value.
Real Estate ABC links up with Zillow.com to provide the same Zestimate you’ll receive there. What I really like about this site, however, is that it lists a ton of sales data for recent home sales in your area.
If a house sold down the street, you’ll eventually be able to find out how much the buyer paid on Real Estate ABC. Since recent sales are the best indicator of your home’s current value, this kind of data can be priceless.
How to find your home’s value: The interface for the site is pretty simple and outdated, but enter the necessary info in the provided fields, and you’ll get your home value immediately. They don’t require any contact information and also provide up to 30 comps for each address.
Related article: Home Sweet Home: What is the True Cost of Having Your Own Home?
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Eppraisal.com works similarly to the other sites on this list, offering its own estimate of your home’s value in certain cases and a Zillow.com Zestimate in others.
Beyond house prices though, Eppraisal offers details on homes sold nearby, plus current refinancing rates and more.
With Eppraisal.com, you can get all this data for free – and you don’t even have to enter your email address.
How to find your home’s value: Enter the address in the search bar in the top right corner, and you’ll be given the results of your property value immediately — no contact necessary. You’ll be given both Eppraisal’s estimate as well as Zillow’s and the difference can be surprising.
While HomeGain.com is mostly a home shopping tool, one of their widgets lets you find the value of your own home for free.
The downside with HomeGain is that they require you to enter your email address to get “unlimited MLS data” for your area. Unfortunately, this usually means you’ll end up on a huge mailing list – whether you like it or not.
How to find your home’s value: Follow the prompts on HomeGain’s homepage to find your home value estimate, and eventually, you’ll be asked to input contact information for someone to reach out to you. The interface is nice, but you won’t get immediate results with this one.
While this might seem strange, Chase Bank has their own home property value tool offered for free online. Simply enter your home address, your state, and your zip code to learn how much your home might be worth.
Instead of giving an exact estimate, Chase offers a price range they feel your home falls into. Since they also offer an estimate of all of your neighbor’s home values, this is a fun tool to play around with. Best of all, it’s free, easy to use, and doesn’t require you to enter any personal data.
How to find your home’s value: Simply enter your address to get a range estimate for the value of your house. You’ll also get a list of a few nearby sales for comparison.
Real estate firm RE/MAX has also jumped in the game with its own home value estimator. While this is likely a ploy to get you to use their services when you sell your home, the online tool is free and easy to use.
Best of all, you don’t have to enter any personal data or offer your email address to get a free estimate of your home’s value.
Once you enter your address, you’ll be presented with a color map of your neighborhood along with all of your neighbor’s home values. Since real estate firms use MLS data to come up with estimates, this tool tends to offer a fairly realistic estimate of most home values as well.
How to find your home’s value: Follow the simple prompts to get automated estimates that you can compare to one another. For a more accurate valuation, you can contact them.
While this site was created to help homeowner’s advertise and market their own homes in lieu of a realtor, it offers several tools any homeowner can benefit from as well.
Their Pricing Scout tool is free and easy to use. Once you sign up, you’ll get an estimated market value of your home based on recently sold comparable properties in your area and a summary of local real estate characteristics.
How to find your home’s value: Literally just type in your address and get a review including a sliding scale for market value as well as a list of neighborhood comps.
We’ve watched home values go up most of our lifetimes. Rising home prices have a significant effect on our wealth, and ability to borrow. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home, watching your home’s value increase over time can be a lot of fun.
Many people have used their home equity smartly to consolidate personal debt or to invest in building a business from their home. While it’s important to always understand your asset values, try not to get attached to the ups and downs too much.
Remember, these websites and others let you watch your home’s value grow aren’t exact, and the only time you’ll get a true answer to the question “how much is my home worth?” will be when you go to sell or borrow against the home.
If you want “the real thing” – as in, a price that reflects every factor that goes into a home’s sales price – you should meet with at least 2 or 3 realtors or mortgage lenders to get price suggestions.
Chances are, a realtor will be able to offer more insight into your local market than any online real estate tool ever could.
The values these sites generate are as accurate as they can be accessing public home values. Nashville realtor, Matt Bogosian, of Kerr Co. Realty cautions on one of the downfalls of these sites:
“But the problem I have with those sites is that they don’t take into consideration things such as the homes condition, the lot the home sits on, the layout or floor plan of the home, and the finishes such as flooring and counter tops. These are all things that can greatly increase or decrease a Homes value.
Take for example a home that has a steep sloping backyard that backs up to other homes. Well that same home located on a level lot that backs up to woods will certainly fetch more money.”
Ultimately those home valuation sites are there for one reason and one reason only:
To find people that are interested in selling their homes, collect their personal data, and then somehow get a piece of the transaction when it happens.
-Matt Bagosian, Nashville realtor
They certainly do. Kris Dolberry, realtor based out of Brentwood,TN, of the Dolberry Group uses these sites for a myriad of reasons.
We use Zillow and Redfin at our listing consultations to get a general idea of what the automated tools believe the property’s worth. And then we look at comps and look at the property specifically and get a tour of it.
Most real estate agents have similar property value or home value tools on their website. Matt Bogosian, adds..
Most realtors will tell you those sites are not accurate and shouldn’t be used. However most realtors like myself also have our own websites that have the very same home valuation tools. A good majority of these valuation tools get their data from the same sources so you end up with similar results.