December 16, 2008

4 sites to get quick home estimates

Here are 4 sites that will give you a quick estimate of a homes value: Zillow, Cyberhomes, Coldwell Banker, and Bank of America. I found these links in an article on the My Money Blog site.

I plugged my home address into these sites and they gave the following estimates of the value:

Zillow: $232,00, range $208,800 - $241,280
Cyberhomes: $229,482, range $206,533 – $263,904
Coldwell Banker : $200,400 to $271,200
Bank of America : between $205,500 and $254,300

Zillow: This site is the one I am most familiar with. I've used it a lot in the past. They give a specific estimate number they call their Zestimate and thats the number that sticks out on their report. They also give a range of prices that falls around the Zestimate. Zillow has a couple nice features including an ariel map of the neighborhood and street level picture of the home made from Google maps. They also have charts showing the prices for the specific address, zip code and city over periods of 1 year or 5 years. If you dig into the data you can get a list of comparable home sales. My result had about 50 homes sold over the past year.

Cyberhomes: This site looks a lot like Zillow. They have about all the same features as Zillow. They give a specific price and a range, there are maps showing aerial and street level views, they have graphs of the home values over time and they have a long list of comparables.

Coldwell Banker: The result is just a range and it was fairly broad. They have 3 ways to get an estimate. First you can talk to a broker and I didn't bother with that option. I first tried the second option 'Live Market Watch' which gives the broad price range. The 3rd option they call 'Recent Sales' and they gave a list of 10 comparable homes that have sold in the past 3-4 months.

Bank of America: This site gives just an approximate range. It lists comparables that have sold in the neighborhood but for my example they seem a bit dated. My result got 3 homes from 12/07, 3/08 and 4/08. So that data is 8-12 months old at this point.

Personally I like Zillow the most, though Cyberhomes is also pretty good. If you're looking for a rough estimate of your home's value then you could get the results from all 4 of these sites and take an average. Given the numbers I got, I think its a pretty safe bet that my home is worth something around $220,000 to $230,000 and the range is very likely between $200,000 and $240,000. Of course every house is different and your home may have features that make it more or less valuable. So you should take these numbers as a rough estimate only. If you want a real estimate then you would need to hire the services of an appraiser.

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