Katy Sapping…, Other/Just Looking in Hutington Beach, CA

How can I get a true estimate of my home's value? The internet sites like Zillow don't agree on it's actual

Asked by Katy Sappington, Hutington Beach, CA Tue Jul 1, 2008

I am trying to determine the true value of my home, but haven't yet talked to a Realtor. In this market it seems that looking it up on sites like Zillow just isn't enough. Any suggestions?

Help the community by answering this question:


As stated below, a CMA is one of the best ways to determine market value, but make sure your Realtor also shows you a windshield view of your market. A CMA, based on recent sales in the past, doesn't show us what to expect in the coming months. I also have software that tracks Auction sales, REO sales, and Pre Foreclosures, so we know what market conditions will be like in the coming months in your neighborhood.

I hope this helps.

Jeremy Lehman
Century 21 Beachside Realtors
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Now more than ever you need a real estate professional! Talk to neighbors, friends and coworkers and get several referrals for a local Firm/Agent in your area. Make the appointments to meet with them and have them run a comparative market analysis, a price trend analysis and also give be the newest seller tool -Absorption Rate Pricing! If you are still not satisfied the value is accurate, order and pay for an appraisal. I have had sellers tell me my market value for their property was within the same range as the "Paid For Appraisal" amount.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 11, 2010
Why are you trying to determine the true value of your home? What are you interested in doing with that information? Regardless, a professional Realtor will ask you these and other questions about your goals and objectives.

Consult with a Realtor who is looking out for you and your objectives so the best solution can be analysed and implemented to accommodate your goals or objectives.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 9, 2010
The best way to get an accurate understanding of your homes value is to have it professionally appraised. The information will be accurate and if you decide to sell it, you can advertise it as "being priced under appraised value."

It will cost you a little money but it could save you money in the long term.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
I have known Zillow to be off by as much as $200,000(they estimated a home value in the 300's when the actual value was 132K) I just don't have any faith in their "Zestimates" after that. I have also stopped listing with them because they have more than once,just lost my listings. You can't get to support when you need it & I think the majority of people use Trulia. Their Q&A section is really dead too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
Hi Katy,

It's tough!! It's hard to tell when actives are all over the board. Short sales are priced sometimes $100,000s under valued just to get an offer. Banks are also pricing really low to get a bidding war going and mitigating their losses. Then you have the poor seller-with-equity who don't want to fire sell their homes a little higher.

I normally show my sellers the current comparables of actives, back-up, pending and closed sales back a few months. Then Iike to go back to 2002-2003 and see where things were there too..before the boom and bust. See if we can get a decent picture.

I too have a great tool on my site, if you are looking for information.

Wish it were easier!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
Dear Katy:
I would be more than happy to send your home value. Also, if you prefer, please visit mywebiste and select the link "what is my house worth"
I hope I can be of help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 22, 2008
Katy, Zillo is only accurate in areas where there has been a number of transactions in a recent period of time prior to getting your Zestimate. If you live an an area where there hasn't been much turnover in a long period of time, the figures are way off. Plus, how can there be a variation of $75,000 for a home that it gives a value of $407,000 for? It makes no sense at all.
I recommend you speak to a friend or relative and ask if they could refer you to a good Realtor. If they can, ask the agent to provide you with a market analysis of your home. They should do so at no cost to you.

The best way for you to determine the actual value of your home is to look at homes that have sold in your immediate area over the past 1 to 3 months. Anything that sold prior to that is irrelevant in today's market. If you want a quick and easy "no hassle" CMA, feel free to visit my website and send me your address on my "contact me" form. Put in the notes you found me from here and I will promise not to send you any other info or give you an phone calls based on your inquiry. I don't know exactly where your home is, but I can tell you I recently closed an REO sale off of Newland and Slater for $454,000 and another home off of Hermit Cir for $675,000 within the past couple of months.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 22, 2008
I don't know that an appraiser is even the right person in this market. Appraisers are being overly conservative right now. So, they probably will come in with a very low price. If you are trying to get it appraised for a loan the bank will send out their own. If you are trying to see what the market value of your home is to sell, you definitely need to get a local realtor involved. Only he/she will know that nuances of your neighborhood to get an accurate value. I.e homes below Adams jumps in price, or homes in the Circle View school boundary jump in price because of the GAIT program there. An appraiser will never know these things. If you need any assistance call or emal me.

Direct: 714.423.1587
Web Reference: http://www.robertfirst.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 6, 2008
If you do go with Home Appraisers, do make sure he/she works in your immediate area and specialize in that. I just received an appraisals home call about one of my closed listing, trying to appraise a house for a lender. He could not understand why my property is so different from the one he was appraising - which one is attached single family home, the other, a townhome in the first place, and both have very different floor plan, in totally diifferent location, ...etc.

I explained to him and he still wonders. I could not belive that he was appraising for the lenders.

So make sure whoever your contact, whether appraiser or Realtor, he/she should be full time, actively in business and know your area inside and out.

By the way, they charge to appraise as this is their core business, and Realtors do it for free, as this is part of their service.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 5, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
Lookup real estate appraisers in your area. They are experts in finding the value of a property and thats what they do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 5, 2008
The best and closet estimate you can get is from a Realtor. A GOOD Realtor has the knowledge of the local market, the houses on the market and their specific condition such as upgrades, locations, days on market, seller motivation, when the house came on market; they know about supply and demand, what the buyers want now, ...etc.

They know about what houses are sold for what value and why.

They don't just take the numbers and crunch them, they actually know about the houses!

They are the best source and they will come out and do a market analysis for you for FREE. Great way to find the best estimate for your house.

Oh, you should get some recommendations and find great Realtors.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 4, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA

As was mentioned previously, there are different types of value. The best way to get an accurate value is either to have an appraisal done by an appraiser or to have realtor do a CMA (comparative market analysis). The appraisal will likely cost between $350 and $450. The CMA will likely be done at no cost.

Appraisers and realtors will have more up to the minute information on the current market and comps(comparable homes that are for sale or recently sold) than the internet sites like Zillow.

If you would like me to do a free CMA, I would be pleased to do one for you.

You may reach me at christine@donovanblatt.com


Christine Donovan
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
Attorney at Law
Donovan Group Realty Inc
(800) 610-SALE

The highest compliment you can give me is the referral of your family, friends and business associates.
I am interested in building strong, lifelong relationships . . . one person at a time.
Web Reference: http://www.donovanblatt.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 4, 2008
It's best to contact someone with access to the MLS to see the pending, sold and what's new in the market. What you see in Zillow is probably not updated daily. Real estate agents should be able to provide you with this info. Have a friend realtor so you get free information. Most of us do a free home evaluation just like we take listings.

Charita King
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 4, 2008
Hi Katy,

Forget Zillow, it's a piece of cr*p website. The numbers are WAY off in both directions. I have found that cyberhomes.com is a much more accurate number. My house just sold in 3 weeks and their estimate was right on with what the appraiser came back with. Good luck!
Web Reference: http://www.cyberhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 3, 2008
Hi Katy,

My suggestion is to quit avoiding the professionals. Call a Realtor. They should provide not only comps but market trends so that you can correctly price your home in today's market. One of the best Huntington Beach agents I know is Dani Walker, with First Team. She can be reached at (714) 655-6056. You will have a great, honest agent backed by the best real estate marketing in all of Orange County.

Tell Dani that Sandra Carlisle referred her when you call. Good luck.
Web Reference: http://www.OCBeachBlog.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
Hi there Katy, I am sure you have received many answers but as you can tell Zillow is just a starting point but many people have looked here and recieved mixed responses about their property values.

There are so many variables to take into account. Zestimates orany on line estimates cannot see your home so many times all the upgrades are not taken into account.
If you would like a real estimate or Market value of your home please let me know I can give you a very accurate market value analysis of your home .
Kind Regards
Michael Barron
First Team Real Estate
(714) 552-6817
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Zillow can be a good place to start to get an over all feel but they do not take into account things such as an upgraded kitchen, new roof or if the home is a complete fixer. Where there any credits at the time of closing to the buyer that affected the selling price? Sites like Zillow are also not always very good at predicting value in an area that is undergoing a market change. Prices in some areas can be very different from just a few months ago. These sites don’t have an understanding of the local market and the trends in an area that someone who is working in that current market would.

A Realtor in your area should be able to complete a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that will be able to look in more depth the comparisons of your home as compared to others in the area.

Good luck!

Lisa Cartolano
Alain Pinel Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Katy, you definitely need an agent to run a CMA for you to determine the value for you if you are thinking about selling. Zillow is not reliable even in a "hot" market.
Web Reference: http://www.DotChance.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
There are different types of value for a property, based on the purpose.
Replacement value - used by insurance companies, designed to estimate the cost of reconstuction. It's basically everything but the land.
Appraised value - used by lenders, usually conservative and based on like properties that have sold in the last three to six months. When the market is declining lenders tend to want more conservative values to protect their potential losses.
Fair Market Value FMV) - the price a willing, able, and knowledgeable buyer will pay to which a seller will agree.
Wholesale Value - the price an investor (like those "I'll buy your home" ads) will pay, usually 10-25% below FMV.
YOUR Value - based on appropriate preparation for sale, competent marketing for exposure, and other features that you decide to use to add value. These would include things like adding the existing appliances to the sale, including patio furniture, a home warranty, perhaps a buy down program to help the buyers have a lower loan payment, etc.

The other major factor that affects value are market trends. The problem with source BUT a competent REALTOR is that without a knowing the trend, it's very hard to estimate the value. For example, if inventory levels are increasing, as they are in most markets, values tend to decline. I just completed my market report for June. I analyze 25 different local markets, and each one has a different picture. Working with a local Realtor who knows:
1. Your situation - when you need to move, your expected net profit, etc.
2. Your local market
3. Your home

So to summarize, talking with a Realtor is the single most accurate way to obtain an estimate of Fair Market Value, IMHO.
If you'd like a referral I'd be happy to help you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA

The only thing I might add to these answers is that you might want to look around your neighborhood to see who the local expert is. You can determine that by who "farms" your neighborhood, leaving flyers and newsletters on your doorstep and actually walks or at least drives through the neighborhood occasionally. They will have the most precise knowledge of home values in your neighborhood.

Values can change by such simple things as crossing a major street. The more narrow view you can take, the more accurate a value you can assign to a home. Further, anyone who wil tell you what your home is worth without not only taking a look at its condition but also at the condition of homes that are near yours and currently on the market as well as recently sold will only be able to give you a ballpark figure.

Best of luck,

Tim Kunze
Specializing in ... YOU!!!
and striving to be YOUR #1 realtor!
Star Real Estate
714-552-2335 (cell)
714-849-9517 (fax)
http://www.TimKunze.com (Where you can search all of Southern California for the home of your dreams!)
See my online magazine: http://www.staronlinemagazine.com/cgi-bin/password_manager/p…
Web Reference: http://www.TimKunze.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
As a local HB Realtor I can determine your home value at no cost. Some variables; location, condition, recent sales, etc. Write me at vivian@campbellrealtors.com. Thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Hi Katy,
There are really just two ways to get a "true estimate" of value of your home. 1) Hire a professional appraiser which will cost about $350 or 2) Have a REALTOR visit with you and provide a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). This will show all of the current active listings, Pending Sales, and recently Sold properties that are similar to yours and in your area. As I;m sure you are aware, the market is ever-changing and a CMA completed today can be surpceded (better or worse) by a new sale in your neighborhood tomorrow. Having said that, as you look around at some of the "Valuation" websites they tend to be not quite accurate. It's important to have a professional on your side and providing great advice that you can use now to make any decision for the future. Are you looking to determine the value to sell or refinance? If you have any further questions, pleae feel free to contact me directly on my cell phones

Thom Colby
Alinea Properties
949-887-5500 or 562-422-4000
Web Reference: http://www.thomcolby.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Hi Katy,

Please talk to a trusted Realtor that will give you the real value of your home. Our comparables are up to the minute and a good agent will not stir you wrong. Zillow is actually averaging the value of sold homes in the area regardless of condition and square footage. The site actually makes it for agents like me to convince homesellers and sometimes, banks to accept the true value of a certain property.

All the Best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
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