Home. It’s our personal sanctuary where we make memories, tuck ourselves away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and lead our lives. A home serves a central purpose in keeping us safe and secure. For many, this may be the only way they see their home.
However, a home is so much more. Like a car, a collectible, or anything else you decide to purchase that has value and could potentially be sold at a later date, a home is an investment. Knowing its value is important, no matter whether you plan on living in it for a long time or selling it down the road and moving somewhere else.
With that in mind, understanding the value of your home is not without its challenges. Fortunately, there are plenty of great tools that can help you throughout this process. If you’re looking to better understand the value of your home, here are 10 online home appraisal websites that can help you estimate your home’s value!
Best Online Home Appraisal Websites to Use
Zillow seems to always find its way to the top of online home appraisal websites, and for good reason. Zillow is a major company in the home-buying, renting, and selling market, and they offer the reputation and ease-of-use that many homeowners are looking for when they are trying to learn more about their home’s value.
Calculating your home’s value is as easy as typing your address into their Zestimate tool to get a free estimate immediately. That in mind, Zillow does inform users that estimates may not be entirely accurate and are not meant to replace actual appraisals. As per the statement on their website:
“The Zestimate® home valuation model is Zillow’s estimate of a home’s market value. The Zestimate incorporates public and user-submitted data, taking into account home facts, location and market conditions.
It is not an appraisal and it should be used as a starting point. We encourage buyers, sellers and homeowners to supplement the Zestimate with other research such as visiting the home, getting a professional appraisal of the home, or requesting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent.”
Given Realtor.com’s name, it comes as no surprise that this authoritative resource is an excellent place to not only learn more about the value of your home but to help you through every step of the buying, renting, or selling process. This website provides you with the home valuator tool right off the bat. Simply navigate to the “Home Value” tab at the top of the homepage, type in your address, and Realtor.com will provide you with a comprehensive overview of your home’s value and all of the factors that go into this overall value.
As you navigate down the page, you’ll find that they offer insights such as what prices similar homes are going for in your area, the schools in the area, and safety information and other relevant information about the town or city the home is located in.
While many of these websites are independent of real estate firms, RE/MAX is a real estate firm that has decided to develop a home valuator tool of their own to help homeowners learn more about their home’s value with ease. All you have to do to get started is to hop on the tool, type your address into the search bar, and let RE/MAX take care of the rest.
The reporting information is relatively basic (which is understandable given that they advise you to follow up with them for a more accurate report). Additionally, much like Zillow, they tell you that they use an automated valuation model to calculate your home’s value, which they state is:
“… not a good representation of a home’s actual value and have a large margin of error. The values generated by AVMs are based on automated computer modeling from public records and may not represent the true value of the home as they cannot take into account the nuances of our local market.”
Redfin is a website that has recently risen to popularity. Boasting excellent home valuations with a low margin for error, easy access to agents if you’re looking to sell fast, and all-around great service, Redfin is certainly one website on this list that is worth checking out if you are not having any luck with the other suggestions offered here.
Getting started on your home valuation is easy with Redfin. All you have to do is click on the “See Home Estimate” tab on their homepage, type your home address into the search bar, and they’ll take you to another page where they tell you more about your property’s value. As they say right underneath your valuation:
“According to an independent study of on-market homes, the Redfin Estimate is the most accurate among leading automated home-value tools. We provide the most accurate value of a home for sale—more than twice as likely to be within 3% of the home’s selling price as other top online home-value estimators. Like other estimates, this is not a formal appraisal or substitute for the in-person expertise of a real estate agent or professional appraiser.”
Trulia is a close competitor to Zillow, and you’ll find that they’ll be able to give you fairly close estimates of properties to them as well.
According to Trulia:
“A Trulia Estimate is an approximate calculation of a home’s market value. It is not an appraisal; it is a starting point in determining a home’s value. Trulia Estimates are based on publicly available information and agent-reported transactions, including:
- The home’s physical characteristics (e.g. location, number of bedrooms, etc.)
- Property tax information
- Recent sales of similar nearby homes”
Additionally, Trulia states that they monitor the accuracy of their estimates by reviewing nearby home sale prices as well as relevant factors related to your home. Unlike other home valuators, you can begin to get a Trulia estimate on your home by going to their homepage, navigating to the buy tab, and typing in your address into the search bar. This will provide you with current property information, nearby schools, and even local city reviews, which can be extremely helpful when it comes to determining the overall quality of where you are currently living.
Aptly named, ForSaleByOwner.com is a website dedicated to helping homeowners take control of their home selling experience if they’re looking to avoid going the traditional route and save on fees. Although their home estimate tool is not as easy to find as it is on some of the other home estimate websites, you can find it by going to the bottom of the homepage and clicking on the “What’s My Home Worth?” link or by going to this page.
Once you’re there, just type in your address and the price evaluator tool will tell you more about your current property’s value as well as related home values in the surrounding area. You can dive deeper into how their pricing tool works here.
HomeGain is largely dedicated to homebuyers, but they do offer a section for home valuations right on their homepage. The only problem? You will have to sign up with them to learn more information about your home. We are only going to mention this one since it may not be the best resource but may be something you may want to look into if you’re looking to test some of the most popular tools.
Many home valuation websites lack personality. Rather than diving deep into the specifics of your home, they will instead pull data from local sources to offer up a quick appraisal of your property.
HomeLight takes a different approach. Once you navigate to the “Home Estimate” tab on their website and type in your address, you’ll be brought to a screen where you answer a series of questions, which include:
- Do you live at this address?
- Are you thinking of selling soon?
- What is the condition of your home?
- What type of property is this?
- Roughly, when was your home built?
- Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your home?
- Where should we send your estimate? (You will have to sign up for HomeLight in order to receive more information about your home)
You will then receive more information about your home, something that is said to be a bit more accurate and tailored to your needs instead of some other home evaluators provided throughout this guide.
9. Chase Mortgage Services
Surprisingly enough, Chase (yes, the bank) offers its own property valuator, which can help you learn more about HELOC and whether or not you would be able to qualify for an additional line of credit. All you’d have to do to get started is to visit their home value estimator tool, type in your address information, and Chase will pull up your property’s information.
Unlike other tools, you can actually use their calculator tool to update any information about your home to provide you with a more accurate estimation. If you’re interested in learning more about your home’s value specifically because your interested in borrowing against your home’s value, this is an excellent resource to turn to (especially if you’re already banking with Chase).
Although Eppraisal can be a little underwhelming in regards to its design, it offers very close estimates similar to Zillow, which can provide you with a great point of reference if you’re relying on multiple websites to learn more about your home’s value. Just type your address into the upper right corner of the website and it will bring you to a relatively simple overview of your home’s value. While it’s not the best home appraiser, it is still worth looking into.
Why Should I Know the Value of My Home?
Many owners may be wondering to themselves, why should I be looking into the value of my home? Surprisingly enough, knowing the value of your home is essential for those who plan on selling and those who don’t. Here are a few reasons why you should know the value of your home and check up on it regularly.
1. It’s Important to Know the True Value of Your Investments (and What Impact This Could Have in the Future)
Much like you wouldn’t invest money into the stock market and let that money sit there without checking up on the health of your investments, you wouldn’t sink money into a house and hope that it appreciates over time. Even if you have no immediate concerns when it comes to the value of your house, it’s always good to check up on this value in the event that you should need to sell or engage in any of the actions listed below. After all, we never know what the future holds!
2. Home Value Can Play Into Opening a HELOC
Let’s imagine that you’ve managed to pay off enough of your mortgage to where you owe less than the total value of your home. Knowing the value of your home (and that it is greater than your current debt) can allow you to borrow against your home and open up a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. You can then use this extra line of credit as a way to handle major home renovations or take care of other expenses.
Of course, home equity can play a major role in knowing how much you may be able to make after the sale of your home as well, which is another thing to take into consideration if you’re looking to expedite the sale of your home and ensure your financial security during the process of your next move.
3. If You Have Homeowner’s Insurance, You Need to Know Whether You’re Fully Covered or Not
Homeowner’s insurance is only helpful if it is able to cover the whole value of your home. However, if your home’s value has risen over the past couple of years, this could be problematic should something happen to your home. If you are paying for homeowner’s insurance, using the tools provided in this guide will help you learn more about your home, whether your current coverage would actually protect your home, and give you more insight into whether you need to reach out to your provider and readjust.
4. A Lower Value Can Help You Save on Inflated Property Taxes
Property taxes are a harsh reality for all homeowners. That being said, do you know whether or not you’re paying too much tax for your home? If your home has decreased in value, you may actually be doing just that. If looking into your home’s value reveals that your home is worth less than it was when you purchased it, you can make an appeal to your city to have your property taxes lowered. Although this can seem like an extensive process, it can help you save money over time.
5. If You’re Older, Knowing Your Estate’s Worth Is Vital to End-of-Life Planning
If you’re an older individual, you may be interested in knowing your home’s value to help you prepare your will. Hopefully, the many online home appraisal websites provided in this guide will help you get an accurate estimate and allow you to understand this complex asset. On that note, we should also mention that knowing your estate’s worth can be helpful for other legal reasons, such as if you may be getting a divorce or filing for bankruptcy.
6. You May Be Able to Get Rid of Your Private Mortgage Insurance
If you were unable to put 20 percent or more down on your house when you purchased it, you may have had to purchase private mortgage insurance as a result. The good news? If your home’s value has risen and you have built up enough equity in your home, you can request that your private mortgage insurance be removed so that you don’t have to deal with this extra expense. However, you may need to get a professional home appraisal to ensure that your home’s value is the same or greater than the listed price online.
As you can see from the above, there are plenty of great reasons why you should know the current value of your home (and regularly evaluate it in the years ahead). But how exactly can you get a better idea of what your home is worth?
What Can I Do to Raise the Value of My Home?
With the tools above, you can successfully determine the approximate value of your home. If you find that your investment has risen steadily over the years, you may be excited at this development. If you find that your home’s value has declined, however, you may be wondering to yourself, what next?
Unfortunately, there are some factors about your home that can’t be changed. For example, the location of your home, nearby items like schools or shopping centers, the quality of the homes surrounding yours, and the safety level of the city you live in can all impact how much your home is valued at. These types of factors cannot be changed by you, which means that you have to work with what you have at the moment.
But while you don’t have control over these types of factors, you are able to control some of the internal factors that contribute to the value of your home. If you’re interested in boosting your home’s value, some actions you may wish to pursue include:
- Improving Your Curb Appeal: Although the interior of your home will really make or break a sale, the front of your home is what serves to give potential buyers a good first impression. You can improve your curb appeal by focusing on landscaping, adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of your house, and making sure that your property looks beautiful and approachable. If it wouldn’t make you want to buy it, chances are others will turn away from the opportunity as well.
- Installing Desirable Additions for Your Area: Let’s imagine that you live in a location where most of the year is hot. One way to make your home more valuable and attractive might be to install a pool. It’s important to consider these types of major renovations beforehand, but if you’ve noticed that these kinds of additions seem to make sales a bit easier, it may be worth tackling now or in the future.
- Renovating Certain Areas to Match the Needs and Style of Today: Generally speaking, knowing the types of buyers who are searching for houses near you can provide you with a better idea of what they’re looking for and how you can renovate your home to meet these changing needs. Take some time to figure out what the popular style and design is in your area and how you can begin to make your house more appealing for these types of interested parties.
- Keep Your Home Clean and Maintained: Regular chores are an unspoken rule among most homeowners. But what needs to be done to keep your home looking great is deep-cleaning and regular maintenance. Set aside some time throughout the year to take care of some of the parts of your home that receive little attention and to conduct maintenance on major appliances. The better your home is maintained, the more likely it is to attract buyers.
- Expanding Your Home: If at all possible, you may wish to build upon your home to add some extra space you’ve always been looking for. Of course, if you’re looking to add value, it’s vital that you do your research to make sure that these additions add value rather than deter people from wanting to finalize a purchase.
While boosting your home’s value can be hard work, it may be something you will want to do if you find yourself in any of the situations listed towards the beginning of this guide!
Knowing Your Home’s Value Is Essential
No matter whether you plan on selling soon or staying in your home for many years, knowing your home’s value is essential. But how do you get started? If you’re interested in uncovering your property’s current value without breaking the bank, use the 10 websites provided above to get a free home valuation, learn more about why you should know this information, and discover what you can do if you find that your home is priced lower than you want it to be!