​What is your home worth? Online Estimates vs. Market Value

You may be checking your stock prices every day, but do you know the current value of what is likely your single biggest asset? Just what is your home worth today? Considering our housing prices are back at or near peak, having insight to your home’s current market value is recommended as you plan your financial future.

Technology allows us to get a rough estimate of what our home is worth. For example, Zillow offers the “Zestimate” that you can see here – and Redfin has their own online home value estimate here, and Realtor.com, Trulia and dozens others also have estimates.

HomeDisclosure.com from data giant RealtyTrac provides an estimate along with values on dozens of intangibles that buyers will consider when evaluating your location. Be forewarned: if asked to submit your personal information on one of these “portals” in exchange for a request for market value, your information could be sold as a "lead" to an agent whom may cold call you to solicit your business.

And here’s another caution: Studies show that these online estimates can be off by an average of 20% in Kitsap County. That means a million-dollar home’s true value may be closer to $800,000, or $1.2M. That’s not to say all the data is bad – the more closely a home resembles its comparable sales, the more accurate the estimate will be. On Bainbridge Island, however, our housing is anything but typical. We can have a 2 million-dollar waterfront home three doors down from a dilapidated manufactured home with the same view. The eclectic nature of our Bainbridge housing means there are dozens of intangible variables factoring into a home’s marketability and price a buyer will pay. A computer and its algorithm can’t calculate that.

For example, these figures below shows how automated online estimates compared to the sale prices of my clients’ closest comparable sales on the day of closing. Pay special attention to the home on New Sweden. Why the huge discrepancy? I believe its size, age and location were the heaviest factors of how Zillow calculated its market value. However, the condition of the home was so bad it needed a full rehabilitation, which was reflected in the sale price. Note that for these six comparable sales, the automated estimates were on average 21.3% higher than the actual sales price. The New Sweden estimate was a stunning 74.4% higher.


If you want to start planning for a future sale, one of the best ways to get a real world handle on your home’s current value is a complete review that starts with a walkthrough. There is absolutely no cost or obligation for this service.

I will share with you how your home compares to the recent home sales that are most comparable to yours. I also will give you a list of the Open Houses of properties that are your active competition and encourage you to visit these. I can even set up an automated email alert for properties that fit the same criteria as yours so you can follow your competition in the open market. Most importantly, I can provide you insight to our local market along the way that no online service can deliver. None of these portals have ever walked through any of your homes nor can an online service understand the lifestyles that buyers pay for on Bainbridge: I have, and do.

To learn about how to enjoy the process of increasing your home’s value, you might like reading this: 40 Ways to Enjoy Losing Money Before You Sell.

To request your personalized Competitive Market Analysis, again at no cost or obligation, contact me now at Jason@MrShutt.com or 206.399.3641.

Copyright 2016