Ah, 2007. In that year, we were introduced to the original iPhone, the Dow Jones closed above 14,000 for the very first time in history, and the Spurs beat the Cavaliers for an NBA Championship. Unfortunately, it’s also the year that the housing market imploded, leaving millions upside down in their mortgages and hundreds of thousands in foreclosure.
Its been ten years since the real estate bubble burst. Nowadays, most homeowners are enjoying the increase that housing prices have seen. Steadily, median prices of existing homes have continued to climb. And they show no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the near future, or even just want to track your current home’s worth, there are a number of tools available to determine market value. With prices at historic highs, I thought this would be a great time to list the many online sites you can use to monitor and track growth over time.
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The 11 Best Home Appraisal Sites
Of course, the most recognized option here is Zillow.com. However, there are several alternatives. Many of these (in my experience) provide a more accurate value than Zillow.
In addition to the list that follows, I’ve decided to use a few controls. I’ve run my childhood home through each appraisal website. The home is a four-bedroom, two-bath, single-family home. I am reasonably confident the home is worth about $130,000.
In addition, I’ve also run through a rental property that I own in Temple, Texas, to see if the results measure up on both. The rental property is newer (built in 2004) but has three bedrooms and two baths. I think the home would probably sell for about $160,000 right now. This is on par with what the county assessed it at this past May.
Let's see how each appraisal website valued the homes.
Zillow is the behemoth of free home value websites and scores a 10 for both the fun factor and name recognition.
They have an excellent app, which you can use to browse homes (for rent or sale), as well as manage your own listings. I rented my property out in February using their Rental Manager app, and found it incredibly easy to use. Plus, it was free!
The navigation on their site (and app) is easy for anyone to use. You can view property values for an entire neighborhood, seeing at a glance how your home compares to the neighbors’. Even if homes arent listed for sale or rent. If you’re looking to buy, this is also a great way to see what’s available in a particular area and how the prices compare.
Zillow is also pretty good with home prices, too. It came in pretty high on the value of my childhood home (value shown: $150,189), but only valued my rental property about 6% higher than it would likely sell for (value shown: $169,485).
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Redfin is a popular alternative to Zillow, with a few features of its own online.
The site offers an overview of other homes in the area that are for sale or rent, though it doesn’t have the same comprehensive view that Zillow does.
Redfin does have its own agents. So you have the option to list through the site directly without having to find your own representative. Redfin also offers discounted commissions for those listing with their agents. And it has a calculator on the site so you can see how much you would save.
If you’re looking to buy, you can book a tour of the home directly through the site, picking your preferred day and time from an availability calendar. This is better than I’ve found with sites like Zillow, where you can send a message to the agent but may or may not get a response in a timely fashion.
For my childhood home, the value was spot-on with Zillows (value: $150,426), but they were unable to give me any data on the rental property (value: unknown). I found this to be a bit surprising, as most sites can at least pull up last sold information to provide an estimate. However, since Redfin operates as a brokerage, they use MLS data to determine the values shown meaning that they may be more accurate in their numbers than other house-hunting websites.
Trulia is a great place to find values of homes near you, though, if you’re like me, you may have trouble finding values for your own home.
I searched Trulia for both houses--childhood and rental--and was told that I needed to contact them for an estimate. This seemed like more trouble than it was worth and deterred me from using the site to its fullest potential. (values: unknown)
However, it did offer a number of other features I found helpful.
The site has a nice Affordability calculator, which was much more helpful than the standard mortgage estimator most sites offer. It included not only mortgage principal and interest, but also HOA fees, homeowners insurance, and even property taxes.
As with other sites, it included nearby properties---sold and currently listed---as well as a neat Crime Near Me thread. This showed reported crimes near this property, so I can see exactly what kind of neighborhood I would be moving into.
This site may sound like it would be full of ads and realtors clambering for your commission, but Realtor.com is actually a great resource for checking the specs of your home.
The values I received were a bit closer to what I expected for my childhood home (value: $135,400) but my rental property was estimated much higher than on the other sites (value: $174,800). I’m not sure exactly what to make of that, since they were both outliers in opposite directions. But it’s good to have yet another number for comparison.
One neat feature of the site is the ability to view homes in the same price range. There’s a slider for viewing the typical other homes in this area group, but there’s also one that takes your home’s estimated value and shows you others in the area at the same price point. This way, you can really compare apples to apples.
RE/MAX is another good source for home values and information, as well as connecting you with a broker if needed. It also provides you with neighborhood schools (in addition to their ratings), nearby homes for sale, and area demographics.
This was a very useful tool, especially as a parent who always wonders how local schools measure up.
I wasn’t able to access photos of either of the properties I searched, even though I had found them on almost all of the other sites I searched.
The value for my childhood home was a bit lower than I had expected (value: $126,755), and the rental property value was higher than expected (value: $176,624). So, again, I’m not sure I would base my valuation of either home solely on the RE/MAX results. But it is helpful to have when evaluating the bigger picture.
HomeLight is an online service that connects you with qualified real estate agents in your local area. Furthermore, its Simple Sale service provides access to a network of pre-approved cash buyers.
But before you use either of these features, you may want to know what your home is worth. HomeLight can help with that, too, with the option to request a real-world home value estimate in two minutes or less.
Eppraisal, in addition to home values, provides demographic data about the neighborhood, including education, finance, and employment statistics. They also include home values from other sites to use as a comparison (such as those on Zillow).
I was shocked that they estimated my childhood home as being worth 28% less than Zillow had (value: $108,376). They also valued my rental property 19% less than Zillow (value: 137,888)-- and 14% less than even my county’s tax assessor-collector had! That says a lot to me, so I would definitely take Eppraisal’s values with a large grain of salt.
8. Chase Bank Mortgage Services
I was really surprised to learn that Chase Bank has its own home value tool through its Mortgage Services department. Simply enter your home’s address to get a calculated value estimate of the property.
Of course, this site doesn’t offer much information on properties and doesn’t provide any photos. However, it does offer a value range that you could expect for the property, as well as neighboring home values.
For my childhood home, the estimate was between $111,350 - $150,650. On my rental property, it was a pretty wide range at $146,850 - $183,150. My expected market values are perfectly in the middle of both ranges. I would venture to say it’s pretty accurate (if not very precise).
CyberHomes is a no-nonsense home valuation tool. For the homes I’ve searched, it provided reasonably accurate values and provides much of the same demographic data that the other websites offer.
It did, however, require me to create an account before I was able to access any information. This may or may not open you up to spam, mailing lists, or solicitations--as a general rule, I try to avoid giving out my email address whenever possible.
10. Property Shark
Property Shark’s database is very limited, though I was able to find both properties. I couldn’t access the full report, but I did see specs on each home as well as county tax assessments and values.
11. Real Estate ABC
Upon first visiting the site, my impression was that it was outdated and a little spammy-looking. However, after entering my information, I found it to be pretty helpful, though.
The values of each property are actually pulled from Zillow (Zestimates), so that part is redundant if you’re value-hunting. However, Real Estate ABC does offer some things that Zillow does not. (values: same as Zillow)
For instance, after searching for your property, you’ll be shown a lengthy list of comps from other homes that have sold in the area. These are broken down by the number of bedrooms, square footage, date built, and sales history. This is great to have at a glance, without having to click on individual listings to see how they really compare to yours.
Real Estate ABC also offers a mortgage finder, if you’re looking to buy. The ticker shows the day’s current rates from each lender and exactly how that would break down for you in terms of a monthly payment, including points.
Rentometer doesn’t provide the value of the home, but it provides the estimated rent one would pay to rent the home. This is a good resource to have, so I’ve included it.
Rentometer has been hit or miss in my experience. But the rental value assigned to my childhood home is very accurate. (Rental value: $1,050/month)
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