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Posted by Robert Casella on Thursday, September 20th, 2012 at 4:09pm.

Two of the most prominent search sites for real estate, Zillow and Trulia, offer a quick and convenient way to search for homes, check for home values, and find general real estate information. While these sites make it easy enough to search for homes, be wary of jumping to firm conclusions based solely on the information provided by these sites.

For example, take the famous “Zestimate” valuation tool marketed by Zillow. More than a handful of my customers have based their initial offer on a home based solely on the findings of this tool. Standing alone, the figures served up by Zestimate provide a dubious foundation for coming to a firm conclusion on home prices. Zillow even states what I am telling you—that it should be a “starting point” to determine value (although you need to dig to get the explanation!).

The value of a home depends upon an understanding of details that go beyond the simple math of taking the average of what homes sold for in the past. Were foreclosures considered? Did the home have a beautiful view or was it looking into a back side of another home? Is there something in the surrounding area driving values up or down? Simply put, throwing everything into one pot and stirring a magic spoon to come up with an estimated value generalizes extremely important components of home value.

While these tools help “scratch” the surface, you need to dig for the details to paint a true picture of value.  If you are uncertain of what factors to consider, hire a trusted professional realtor. A good realtor will reveal the devil in the details which could potentially save you thousands of dollars!




Robert Casella, CLHMS - Licensed Realtor
Certified Luxury Home Specialist

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