If you’re interested in determining what a home or property is worth, there are many online websites that can help you.
Of course, you don’t want to pick just any one. You’ll want to find the most accurate home value website so you don’t take action based on incorrect information.
We’ve researched five of the most popular websites that offer home valuations to identify which provides the most useful information and, most importantly, the most accurate estimates. Here’s what you need to know about which home valuation websites to trust.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Difference Between a Home Valuation Estimate and a CMA?
Zillow refers to its home valuation model as a Zestimate.
Zestimates are available for 97.5 million homes throughout the United States. You can find Zestimates for both properties currently listed for sale as well as for those that are off-market. Obtaining one is a simple matter of visiting Zillow.com and searching for a property address.
Zillow not only shows the current Zestimate, but also the price range over time dating back several years. And, while the Zestimate is an exact number, Zillow also shows an “Estimated sales range.”
To find a Zestimate, input a property address on Zillow and look under “Facts and features.” Here’s what you’ll see:
How Accurate Is a Zillow Home Value Estimate?
Zillow provides comprehensive data on the accuracy of its Zestimates. According to the provided information:
- The median error rate nationwide for homes on the market is 1.9%. That means the Zestimate is within 1.9% of the selling price around half the time.
- The median error rate nationwide for off-market homes is 7.5%.
- Zillow’s estimate is within 10% of the final sales price more than 95% of the time in most parts of the United States.
However, Zestimtes vary in accuracy by location. It’s median error rate in Washington D.C., for example, is just 1.2% while it is 3.6% in San Francisco.
What Factors Go Into Determining a Zillow Home Value Estimate?
Zillow obtains data from public records as well as from users to determine the Zestimate for a home. It uses a proprietary algorithm to analyze home value based on:
- Square footage
- Property location
- The number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Unique features including landscaping, flooring, and architectural details.
- Listing price for on-market homes
- Tax assessments
- Prior sales
- Comparable properties
Accuracy is a top priority for Zillow. In fact, the company awarded a $1 million prize to a team of data scientists that developed the best algorithm for determining home valuations. Zillow’s commitment to improving its valuation methods has helped it earn its place as one of the most accurate home value websites.
Redfin refers to its home valuations as Redfin Estimates. You can find a Redfin Estimate for 92 million properties throughout the United States, including both on- and off-market properties. However, estimates are available only in areas where there are a sufficient number of comparable sales.
Redfin estimates are updated daily for any properties that are currently on the market, and updated weekly for off-market homes. To find one, simply visit Redfin.com/redfin-estimate and enter the property address. Redfin will also give you the option to claim a home as the owner so you can update details or to sign up for updates on its value over time.
How Accurate Is a Redfin Home Value Estimate?
Redfin also provides data on the accuracy of its estimates, which can vary by location. According to Redfin:
- The median error rate for on-market properties is 1.80%.
- The median error rate for off market properties is 5.98%.
This means that Redfin’s estimate is within 1.80% of the final sales price about half the time for homes that are for sale, and is within 5.98% of the eventual sales price around half the time for homes that are currently off the market. This actually makes Redfin the most accurate home value website nationwide.
Like Zillow, Redfin is much more accurate in some areas than in others. In Washington, D.C., its median error rate is 1.58%, for example, compared to 2.78% in San Francisco County.
What Factors Go Into Determining a Redfin Home Value Estimate?
Redfin assesses more than 5,000 different data points when making its estimates. Factors that go into a Redfin Estimate include:
- Details about the neighborhood
- Information about the home obtained from public records, past listings, and user-submitted details
Remax offers a tool on its website called “What’s my Home Worth.” The simple tool allows you to input a property address and get estimates for the home from three different Automated Valuation Models (AVMs).
When you search for a property using Remax’s tool, you’ll also see a list of comparable homes within the same zip code displayed on the page below your estimates.
How Accurate Is a Remax Home Value Estimate?
Remax does not actually assess the value of your home itself. Instead, it shows you estimates from three other websites that do including:
Remax warns that these are automated estimates that may not represent the true value of your property and urges you to contact an agent to obtain a more accurate valuation through a competitive market analysis.
What Factors go Into Determining a Remax Home Value Estimate?
Because Remax does not independently determine your home value, it doesn’t have an algorithm of its own and isn’t competing to be the most accurate home value website. Instead, it provides a convenient way to obtain an estimate of the value of a property from three other automated appraisers without having to visit each of their sites individually.
Trulia refers to its home valuation model as a Trulia Estimate. These estimates are available for more than 65 million properties throughout the United States that are not currently for sale. These include single family homes, condominiums, and townhouses.
Trulia’s estimate page only provides the current home value, not a history or a range. It does, however, show comparable properties for sale.
Obtaining the estimate is as simple as inputting the address of the property you’re interested in — but, remember, you won’t get an estimate for properties currently for sale.
How Accurate is a Trulia Home Value Estimate?
Trulia provides a downloadable accuracy report that includes data on the percent of sales where its estimates were within 5%, 10%, 15% or 20% of the price the property sold for. According to this data:
- 48.2% of properties throughout the U.S. sold for within 5% of their home valuation
- 67.7% sold within 10% of their valuation
- 82.3% sold within 20% of their valuation
- The median error rate was 5.3%
Trulia also breaks down its error rate by both state and county. You can use this to find out how accurate its estimations are in your particular area.
It is important to note that while their median error rate may appear high, Trulia is only providing estimates for homes not currently for sale.
Other sites, such as Zillow and Redfin, have higher accuracy levels for listed homes. However, it’s easier to make an accurate assessment of price when a property has been listed. That’s because there is much more information available about it than about properties that are not on the market.
What Factors Go Into Determining a Trulia Home Value Estimate?
Trulia uses publicly available information to develop a home valuation based on:
- A home’s location
- Its size (square footage)
- The number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Architectural features of the home
- Property tax information
- Recent sales of nearby comparable properties
Realtor.com allows you to get an estimate of a property’s value using the My Home segment of its website. To start the process, you’ll need to input the address of the property. Once you do, you’ll be taken to a detailed dashboard with more information than many of the other home valuation websites.
Realtor.com’s MyHome dashboard not only gives you multiple home valuation estimates, but it also shows you how the value of the property has changed over time. Beyond the home valuation, there is also information on the current outstanding balance on the property’s mortgage and about active listings in the same neighborhood.
One thing to note about Realtor.com is that it does not use its own algorithms to generate the estimates it provides. Like Remax’s home valuation tool, Realtor.com aggregates data from third party sources to provide estimated home prices from three different valuation providers.
How Accurate Is a Realtor.com Home Value Estimate?
Realtor.com does not generate its own home value, but instead shows you estimates from:
- Collateral Analytics
The benefit of using Realtor.com is that you can receive three different home valuations to compare without having to independently visit each website. Its other tools, such as the historical valuation tracker, can also come in handy if you want to see how property values have changed over time.
What Factors Go Into Determining a Realtor.com Home Value Estimate?
Like Remax, Realtor.com does not use its own algorithm, instead presenting three different estimates from other data providers.
What Is the Difference Between a Home Valuation Estimate and a CMA?
CMA is short for competitive market analysis. It’s performed by a real estate agent who represents home sellers.
Seller’s agents create a free CMA using data from the Multiple Listing Service, which is a large database of properties that are for sale or that have sold recently. Based on an assessment of comparable properties, seller’s agents estimate what your home is likely to sell for.
Home valuation estimates from Zillow, Redfin, and the other sites on this list are a little different. Their valuations are created by an algorithm, rather than a person. This has some pros and cons. The algorithm can assess many more data points than an individual seller’s agent will, for example. But a seller’s agent brings knowledge of the local market to the CMA that an algorithm can’t.
A seller’s agent that prepares a competitive market analysis also does so with comprehensive information about your property, which these online sites typically don’t have. Even the most accurate home value website can’t compete with an agent making a personalized assessment with all of your home’s specific details in mind.
The bottom line is, both a CMA and a home valuation estimate can give you a good idea of what your property is worth, although neither is foolproof and both rely on there being plenty of comparable sales in your area.
You can use information from either a CMA or an online home valuation website to give you a good idea of what your home is likely worth. Ultimately, however, the only way to know for sure what a property is worth is to put it on the market and see if you generate any interest.
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