The most accurate home value estimators provide a ballpark estimate of a property’s value. They make estimates based on a home’s key features, recent local home sales and active listings, neighborhood data, and local market trends.
We recommend comparing home values from multiple websites to get a more accurate home value estimate.
However, home value estimators are usually not accurate enough to make a major financial decision, like setting a list price on a home. In these cases, you want to get a free comparative market analysis (CMA) from a local realtor.
An experienced realtor can make a much more accurate assessment of your home’s worth, so you can sell your house for the best price possible.
5 most accurate home value estimators
We tested the most popular home value estimators over three weeks, running properties through each estimator and comparing the results. These five estimators provided the best results.
1. Redfin home value estimator
Redfin’s home value estimator, Redfin Estimate, is slightly more accurate than Zillow’s Zestimate for off-market homes and active listings.
Redfin Estimate has a median error rate of 6.47% for off-market homes and 2.09% for on-market homes.
Less coverage compared to Zillow
Redfin has less coverage than Zillow, with home value estimates for 92 million homes, or 12 million fewer homes than Zillow.
We encountered this coverage problem firsthand when testing out both estimators. When we input randomly selected properties into Redfin Estimate, the estimator struggled to find many of the properties we found on Zestimate — especially ones in small towns and rural areas.
Still a useful home value tool
However, Redfin’s estimator is useful compared to many others we tested. Its estimator is free, fast, and easy to use, and its home values are updated frequently (daily for active listings and weekly for off-market homes).
Redfin’s homeowner dashboard is a helpful feature. It displays relevant local sales information that can help guide your pricing or marketing strategy if you plan to sell.
» COMPARE: Zillow vs. Redfin: Which Estimator Is Best?
2. Zillow and Trulia home value estimator
Zillow’s — and its sister site Trulia’s — Zestimate is the most popular online home value estimator. It’s among the best in the business, but it’s not perfect.
Huge property database
Zillow has one of the largest databases of online home values, covering 104 million homes, or about 75% of all homes in the country.
Slightly less accurate than Redfin
Its Zestimate has a national median error rate of 7.49% for off-market homes and 2.4% for active listings,making it slightly less accurate than Redfin.
If you’re thinking about selling, your home is probably still off the market, so the less accurate one (7.49%) applies to you.
Zillow Zestimates rely on the multiple listing service (MLS), tax records, and user-submitted information to complete its Zestimates, which are frequently inaccurate.
Like other home value estimators, recent upgrades or renovations likely won’t impact your valuation (unless they’ve been reported on your property’s tax records).
Read our Zillow home value estimator review for a more detailed analysis.
3. Realtor.com home values
We put Realtor.com’s decades of industry experience to the test with its free home value estimator.
Provides multiple home values
Its home value estimator uses data from three different sources: CoreLogic, Collateral Analytics, and Quantarium — all used by mortgage lenders to help determine home values.
Obtaining multiple home value estimates from a single source is helpful for a complete view of your home’s potential value. Most other home value websites only provide users with a single home value.
Doesn’t provide a median error rate
However, we found no evidence that Realtor.com’s value estimates are more precise than other options.
Unlike Zillow and Redfin, Realtor.com doesn’t share its median error rate, so it’s impossible to know how accurate its valuations are. In addition, Realtor.com does not provide any local sales information, so you can’t see which comparable home sales it chose to determine your home value estimate.
Until Realtor.com provides home sales data and a median error rate as Zillow and Redfin do, we give its estimator a lower rating (three out of five stars).
Realtor.com uses the same data sources as mortgage lenders, but that’s not proof its data is more accurate. Mortgage lenders require an in-person appraisal before approving a loan and don’t make lending decisions on an automated valuation model.
4. Bank of America home values
Bank of America is one of the few large banks offering a free home value estimator, but the bank’s size and mortgage experience don’t translate into more accurate home valuations.
Fast, free, and easy to use
We plugged several single-family properties into Bank of America’s website and received home value estimates within seconds.
Besides a home value, Bank of America also provides users with a complete property overview, a chart detailing the home’s value history, and a list of recent comparable sales in the area, with a map showing each home’s location.
Home value estimates are far from perfect
Unfortunately, we found that Bank of America often uses outdated comparable sales to determine a home’s value.
Real estate agents and appraisers rarely use comps that sold more than 6–12 months from the date of the home’s valuation. But Bank of America regularly uses comps that sold more than a year ago.
Like other home value websites, Bank of America likely doesn’t factor in your home’s renovations or upgrades.
5. PennyMac home value estimator
PennyMac is one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, servicing more than $500 billion in loans in 2023.Its home value estimator is fast, free, and easy to use, and we found its property information accurate compared to our home’s tax records.
However, PennyMac is another home value website that frequently uses outdated comparable sales to determine a home’s estimated value. On our test property, 7 out of 10 of its comparables sold more than 7 months ago.
Unlike Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin, there’s no option to save your home value or receive regular updates.
Other popular home value estimators
- Chase home values: Chase Bank’s home value estimator frequently uses outdated comparable sales to estimate a home’s value. And its property information is often inaccurate. For example, our test property and its comparables had the wrong number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Finally, Chase home values can’t be saved, and users have no option to add home renovations or improvements.
- Ownerly home values: Ownerly is the only home value estimator we tested that isn’t free. It costs $1 for a 7-day trial, followed by $34.99 per month. It isn’t worth the cost and hassle. We found its estimates comparable to free options, including Zillow and Redfin. Also, Ownerly has received negative online reviews. Customers report getting charged the monthly fee even after canceling a subscription during the trial.
- HomeLight home value estimator: HomeLight doesn’t provide any information or data about its home value estimates. We didn’t even know if it had the correct information on our test property. HomeLight produced the lowest or second-lowest home valuation estimates in our tests. While that’s not necessarily proof that HomeLight is less accurate, it suggests that HomeLight may be using outdated or inaccurate information.
How accurate are home value estimators?
Home value estimator tools aren’t that accurate. Most online estimators have a median error rate of approximately 2% to 7%. That might not sound like much, but it can represent tens of thousands of dollars on a home sale.
Plus, the error rate gets even worse depending on where you live, whether or not your home is already listed, how long ago you bought it, and whether it was recently renovated.
A common issue with estimator tools is that their assessments are based on how much “similar” properties have sold for near you. Algorithms need to make assumptions about your property that may or may not be true, which inevitably leads to mistakes.
For example, two properties may appear to be the same to an algorithm, but if one has a renovated kitchen, that can add $20,000 extra to the list price.
We tested the four most popular home value estimators — Zestimate, Redfin Estimate, Realtor.com, and HomeLight — using dummy addresses in a city, a suburban area, and a rural area to see how different the estimates were for each property.
The difference in estimates was huge — over $53,000 for our city property! That just goes to show that online home value estimates are not reliable for pricing your home properly.
To get a far more accurate estimate of your home’s value, you need to consult a real estate agent and get a free CMA.
Why getting an accurate home value estimate matters
Getting an accurate home value is one of the most important steps in selling your house — and, in some cases, buying a house.
As a seller, an accurate home value is the main data point you use to price your home. If that home value estimate is off, then it could come back to bite you.
Price your home too high, and you may struggle to find buyers or your home may languish on the market. Price it too low, and you could miss out on tens of thousands of dollars.
CMAs give the most accurate home value estimates
You’ll get the most accurate home value estimate by asking a real estate agent for a comparative market analysis (CMA).
A CMA is completely free, and you have no obligation to hire the real estate agent who completes it.
Why are CMAs better than online estimators?
CMAs are in-person assessments performed by a local real estate agent, while online estimators rely on an algorithm.
Both CMAs and online estimators use recent comparable sales (“comps”) to determine your home’s value. But a realtor can handpick comps that are far more similar to your home, which results in a much more accurate home value estimate.
A realtor handpicks properties based on quantitative and qualitative factors.
They can account for factors that algorithms struggle to measure or don’t include in evaluations, like:
- Whether your house has a desirable view or is on a busy street
- The nuances of what buyers are looking for in your local market
- Photos on the multiple listing service (MLS) that give insight into other homes’ conditions
- Whether other home sales included buyer concessions, which might result in a different sale price than what you could get for your property
A realtor’s experience and local market knowledge almost always make their CMAs more accurate than an online home value estimator.
FAQ about the most accurate home value estimators
Should I use a home value estimator if I’m selling?
For sellers, a home value estimator will give you a ballpark estimate of what your home may be worth, but don’t rely on it to set your list price. Home value estimators are inaccurate, and a real estate agent can provide a more accurate estimate for free with a comparative market analysis.
Should I use a home value estimator when refinancing?
No. Just like with a mortgage, refinancing requires you to get an appraisal to ensure that the loaned amount lines up with what your house is actually worth. A property value website is too unreliable for any lender to take seriously. It's best used for a ballpark home value estimate. Learn more about home value website accuracy rates.
Because an appraisal is done in-person, the appraiser has a better idea of the condition of your home than a home estimator does. That can mean the appraised value of your home — and therefore what you can refinance it for — may be far from what an online home value estimator says.
But a home value estimator can give you a ballpark estimate of how much you may be able to refinance for — just don’t be surprised if that estimate ends up being far from what a bank will actually lend you.
Should I get an appraisal before I list my home?
Probably not. Appraisals are mostly for mortgage lenders. They don’t have much to do with getting you the best list price for your home.
In most cases, an appraisal is done after a buyer has already made an offer on your home. The mortgage lender typically requests one to ensure that the property isn’t overpriced and that the lender is giving a fair amount for the mortgage. So the appraisal is more about protecting the lender’s interests, not yours.
Unlike a lender, your real estate agent is approaching your home value as a marketing opportunity. They’re looking to land you a sale price that is both relatively high and likely to attract offers from buyers.
How should I estimate home value after renovation?
When calculating after renovation value (ARV), assuming a 70% return on investment (ROI) is a common rule of thumb.
Calculate ARV of your home using this formula:
ARV = current estimated home value + (70% × cost of renovations)
While you can use the 70% rule as a starting point to decide whether to take on a renovation project, don’t rely on it too much. It’s not very precise and certain renovations have a greater ROI than others.
Ultimately, you’re still going to need a real estate agent to provide a more accurate home value estimate with a comparative market analysis.
How can I increase home value?
Renovations that increase the value of your home the most include kitchen and bath remodels, window replacements, and a new roof.
However, while each of these projects will typically add tens of thousands of dollars to your home’s value, they are also major undertakings, both in terms of time and cost.
Simpler projects, like a garage door replacement or fresh coat of paint, are a lot less costly, but have a high return on investment.
Before undertaking any renovation project in order to increase your home’s value, consider your current market conditions and your timeline for selling. If you live in a hot seller’s market where your house is likely to sell quickly and over asking anyway, renovations may not make much of a difference in terms of attracting buyers.
But if you live in a slower market, then a remodeled home can help yours stand out from the rest and potentially get you more offers.
What is the assessed value of a home?
Assessed value is the value assigned to your property by a government assessor in order to calculate your property tax obligations. It is different from — and often lower than — your home’s fair market value, which is what your house could sell for on the market. That’s why you shouldn’t use your home’s assessed value to determine a listing price.
Assessed value differs by tax districts, but usually it is based on your home’s condition, size, and features, as well as current local property values. In some areas, the assessed value is a percentage of the fair market value.
Why do different home value estimators give different estimates?
Each home value estimator uses its own algorithm to decide how much a home is actually worth. These algorithms weigh different aspects of a property differently, which results in different home values.
For example, one home value estimator may place more weight on a renovated kitchen than another one. Or one estimator may only use sales data going back one year, while another uses sales data going back two years.
These differences begin to snowball, resulting in differences in home value estimates that can run in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Why doesn’t my home have a Zestimate?
Sometimes Zillow — and other home value websites — just doesn’t have enough data about a property to estimate its value. This may happen for a number of reasons.
For example, if you live in a non-disclosure state where real estate transactions aren’t publicly reported, Zillow may not have access to enough information about your home to make a Zestimate.
The other potential issue is if there aren’t enough real estate transactions in your county or ZIP code. Zestimates are based on what similar properties to yours have sold for in your area, so without that data an online home value estimate is nearly impossible. This is more likely to happen to you if you live in a rural area.
Read our Zillow home value estimator review for more information.
Should I use a home value estimator when buying a home?
If you’re a buyer, you can compare the list price of a home with what a home value estimator says it’s worth. Pricing errors are especially common with for-sale-by-owner homes, so a home value estimator can alert you if a list price is potentially way off.
But don’t rely too much on a home value estimator when making an offer. A house listed with an agent is priced based on a comparative market analysis, which is far more accurate than a home value estimator. Agents know this and won't be swayed by buyers trying to get a lower price because of what an online calculator says.
Should I use a home value estimator to buy an investment property?
You shouldn’t decide whether to buy an investment property based on home value estimators, which have wide margins of error (often 2–7%). If you rely on a home value estimate, you may make tens of thousands of dollars less than you expected — or even lose money on a property. Only use home value estimators to explore potential properties you may want to invest in.
Before making an offer, get a more accurate value estimate through a comparative market analysis. If you’re an experienced investor, you may be able to run your own CMA. But for all other investors, you’ll want to turn to a local real estate agent.
How are home values determined?
Determining home values is both an art and a science. When your real estate agent comes up with a comparative market analysis (CMA), they mainly rely on what are called “comps.” These are houses that have sold near your house that are comparable to yours.
Because your agent has access to the multiple listing service (MLS), they can pull up a trove of sales data going back decades and find comps that match your house in terms of things like:
- Square footage
- Recent renovations
- Access to schools
Your agent can also see pictures of homes that are for sale or have sold in the past. These pictures give your agent a much better idea of the condition of the home, which is something that makes a huge difference in terms of list price. Algorithms struggle with determining the condition of a home, which is a big reason why they’re often off by large margins.
Plus, agents have access to highly detailed information about previous housing sales, such as whether other houses in your neighborhood included buyer concessions and closing costs, which can have a big impact on the final sale price.
For a fast, free home value estimate, check out our list of the top free home value estimators.
Why trust us?
This guide draws on hundreds of hours of research by the Real Estate Witch team. We tested dozens of home value estimators using test properties across the country to find the ones that provide the best value for you — and to eliminate those that didn’t make the cut.
This guide also draws on our in-house experts, including:
- Ben Mizes, investor and Clever Real Estate Co-founder: Ben has a portfolio of 22 properties in St. Louis, is a licensed real estate agent in Missouri, and helped grow Clever to one of the nation’s leading real estate education platforms.
- Steven Nicastro, investor and realtor: Steve closed $6 million in real estate transactions in the challenging Charleston, South Carolina, market in 2020 and 2021. He has also written for NerdWallet, the New York Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, and U.S. News.
- Trent Seigfried, data analyst: Trent works at identifying patterns in large data sets in the real estate industry and is the founder of a number of personal finance websites.
We considered several factors when assigning a grade to each home value estimator — most importantly, the error rates and geographical coverage. Because only half of the home value estimators publish their error rates, we lowered the scores of those that did not.
We also considered factors that didn’t directly impact the accuracy of the estimators but could affect the user experience. For example, if a home value estimator required users to submit contact information and then used that contact information to spam them, we marked it down.
Negotiating Realtor Fees: 5 Tips to Lower Commission: Negotiating real estate fees centers on knowing the market and your situation, then using that info while talking to multiple agents.
Realtor Fees: Who Pays the Commission and How Much Is It? Wondering how much realtor fees cost? This guide explains what you’ll pay (and how to get discounts) when working with a realtor.
Companies That Buy Houses for Cash: These companies buy houses for cash, helping you sell your home quickly and conveniently — but at a cost!
How to Sell Your House Without a Realtor: Want to sell your house without a realtor? This guide outlines steps to selling without a realtor, pros and cons, and costs.
How to Find a Realtor: The best way to find a real estate agent is through a trusted source. We break down how to find a realtor that’s the right fit for you.