If you’re considering selling your home, then you’ve probably done a little preliminary research already – looked up what homes in your neighborhood have sold for, driven by a few nearby homes on the market, or even used one of those online valuation tools designed to give you an “accurate” estimate of what your home is worth.

Sadly, as much as we wish these tools did what they say they do … they’re actually quite misleading.

Often, they make you think your home is worth much more than it really is, which means a big let-down is in your future when you talk to a realtor or actually put your property on the market.

Really, the only people qualified to provide an estimate on your home are an appraiser or an experienced local real estate agent. Any “automatic” valuation tool is just not advanced or knowledgeable enough to get it right. In fact, most of the estimation tools leave out a number of important factors, like:

  1. The condition of the property – Sure, the tool can calculate how old your property is or how long it’s been off the market for, but can it see the actually condition of it? How well maintained it is? How often the HVAC system was updated or when the roof was last replaced? Definitely not. Unfortunately, without knowing the details of the home’s condition, it’s impossible to provide an estimate even somewhat accurate. The state of the property’s structure, systems and even aesthetic play a huge role in what the home will garner on the market, and they must be considered when making any sort of pre-sale valuation.
  2. Comps – Also called “comparables,” comps are similar homes that have sold recently. They’re properties in your area, around the same size and age, and their selling price and days on market can lend great insight to how your home will perform when listed, too. Most online valuation tools don’t have the ability to factor in comps, simply because they don’t have access to the right information. Comps come from MLS data, which is exclusively available to realtors and others within the real estate industry.
  3. The home’s interior – Some online tools will take into account certain exterior aspects of the home, like the property size, the type of material (brick, stucco, etc.) and even additions like a pool or deck, but very few, if any, take an interior factors into consideration. Things like the appliances, light fixtures, type of flooring and other details play a huge role in a home’s marketability, and they can mean the difference between a quick sell and a listing that sits stagnant for months on end. These factors must be taken into account in order to get a truly accurate depiction of a home’s worth.
  4. New developments – When new developments or additions go into an area, it changes the value of all the properties around it. Unfortunately, information on new developments isn’t often publicly known, so online estimating tools simply have no way of working these additions into their final evaluations. Real estate agents and appraisers will certainly have access to this info and will be able to consider it when estimating a home’s value.
  5. The property’s uniqueness – Every single home is different, with a different past and a different story. As much as these online tools would like to put each home in a strict box with a corresponding value, that’s just not possible. The unique elements of a home – the décor, the layout, the paint colors, even the flowers in the yard – must all be considered in order to get an accurate picture of what a property is worth. After all, it’s those little touches that will make a buyer fall in love with – and purchase – the home!

If you’re considering selling your home, don’t trust online estimate tools. Instead, hire a professional appraiser to evaluate your home or save money, and call on an experienced local real estate agent. They’ll be able to visit your home, evaluate it in light of the local market, recent comps and other important factors, and give you an accurate portrayal of what your home may command on the market. Then, if you’re still interested in moving forward with the sale, the agent can help you list it, market it and negotiate with potential buyers.

Ready to find out what you Schertz, Cibolo, Garden Ridge, Converse or Universal City home is worth or get started on the listing process? Then contact an agent at The Claus Team today.