Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Estimating The Value Of My House

Although I do not consider my home an investment, I still like to know it's approximate value. In the past, I would need to do one of the following:

  • Contact a real estate agent for an appraisal.

  • Use sales records to do a comparables analysis.

  • Both approaches involved more effort than I wanted to invest. Also, many "free" Internet appraisal services often involved contact with a real estate agent, which I did not want to do.
    About a year ago, a new service named Zillow.com debuted. Completely free, Zillow.com provides an estimated of value of a home based on comparable sales, house features, and other factors, such the status of the economy. It's easy to use. One only needs to enter the address of the property and Zillow.com returns the estimated value.

    Zillow.com has been a useful application for tracking the value changes of my own home and homes in our neighborhood. However, sometimes Zillow doesn't have the correct descriptive information (e.g. number of bedrooms) about my house, which causes me to wonder about the accuracy of the estimate.

    While I would not use Zillow.com to get a definitive price, it seems to give a reasonable range of values for properties in our area. Over the past year, it has provided an estimate range of +/- 15% for my own house, which is good enough for the purpose of estimating net worth. If I needed an estimated value for estate, tax or selling purposes, I would use a more rigorous appraisal option.

    For more on Ideas You Can Use , check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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