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How to Determine House Values Online – Internet Offers Zestimate Zillow.com and Other Free Appraisal Services For Homes Worth

June 29th 2006

How to Determine House Values Online – Internet Offers Zestimate Zillow.com and Other Free Appraisal Services For Homes Worth

Home Values

The summer months are usually the most popular time to buy and sell a home.  The kids are out of school, and many people have a little extra time to make the move.  But how do you know if you are getting a good deal either selling or buying a home?

The most accurate method of determining the value of a house is to hire an appraiser.  The appraiser can determine the value of the house using a few methods including comparing the house to others that have sold in the area.  This is called the comparable method. 

Appraisers may also determine how much it would cost to rebuild the house, and then subtract the depreciation and add the value of the land.  This can be accurate, especially if the house has special features and upgrades.  For instance, if the house has ceramic tile, it will be worth more than a house with linoleum. 


Appraisals can cost hundreds of dollars for a common residential property.  But let’s say you are interested in a quick estimate.  There are sources on the Internet where you can get a quick estimate of what a house is worth. Zestimate is one these sites.

Zestimate (Zillow.com) is free and will give you a satellite view of the house with the estimate.  The service has also added a “birds-eye” view of many of the residences as well. 

The value is determined using the comparable estimation approach using values obtained by the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other sources.  After you enter the address for the home in question, Zestimate will serve up a map with arrows pointing to the comparable properties. 


These estimated values may be accurate, especially in areas with identical track homes.  The values will likely be less accurate where homes were built one at a time or in areas where views add value. 

Banks will likely still require an appraisal before they loan on a house.  They want someone to actually go out and look at the house.  Zestimate is looking into aiding buyers and sellers in the transaction though.  Previously, this has been the job of the real estate agent and broker.

So far Zestimate is available on the west coast and in certain metropolitan areas around the country.  They hope to have the rest of the country available soon.  Until then there are some regional services available for determining the value of property free of charge.   

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

Real Estate

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