House Value Websites – Are they accurate?

If you don’t have a trusted local real estate agent, it is natural to turn to online home value estimators.

Looking to websites like Trulia (owned by Zillow), House Values, and every other site you will find in your online search will give you a wide range of numbers for your house value. With such a large range, this is more likely amusing, not factual.

Balance - home price

When you need accurate numbers for selling or refinancing, you are looking for facts and answers, not amusement.

In order to understand why these estimates can be so inaccurate, you need to understand what affects a home’s value. See the Top Factors that affect your home’s value.

Value estimation algorithms can estimate based on the house location by comparing market sales and tax data but there is no algorithm to determine the condition of a home or see if the home has had square footage added in a remodel… or know the circumstances of local comparative sales. Plus, some sites need to be manually updated by the agents that make the sales leaving much room for human error and omissions. The output can only be as good as the info that was input.

See: Three Main Factors for Determining Real Estate Comps

So why do these websites spend time and money to get you to request your home value?

It’s really just a simple marketing/sales plan. They know that people tend to search for everything online. They know that they need to provide some sort of result or answer just to satisfy the search. They know that people will need a real estate agent if they really want an accurate assessment so they made it a business model. They attract consumers online and then sell that consumer information to real estate agents. Yes, every time you submit your information online, some agent has likely paid to receive it and many of them will put you on their advertising campaigns.

So now what? Well, instead of searching online for your home value, your focus should likely be on finding a good agent – since ultimately that is what you will need.

BUYERS – the estimate is not reliable for sellers and it’s NOT reliable for you either! You can’t base your offer on some online estimated value!

Have questions about the value of a home you are buying or selling? It’s time for professional real estate help. There is so much more to a real estate transaction than the price of the house.

Did you land here because you were just curious but you are not ready to buy or sell a home? Get a FREE Local Market Snapshot.



This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.