Tuesday, November 29, 2011



Home Buyers & Sellers are more savvy than ever, yet both are relying more and more on faulty information provided by various Internet resources (such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Homes.com, etc.) to help determine a home’s value. It is important to beware of the extensive inaccuracy of these home value “estimates” in order to protect your investment dollar.

“Approximately 90% of home buyers begin their search on the Internet, and many blindly rely on these ‘estimates’, despite the fact that valuations on these sites – by their own admission – can be wildly inaccurate,” said Elaine Mallon, Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker.

These online home valuations can be 20%-50% higher or lower than a property’s eventual sale price, as the sites themselves admit. “That means a Buyer who relies on this rough information might be passing up a truly good value or a Seller who relies on this data might be undervaluing their home by tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.”

“A Trulia estimate is just that – an estimate,” says a disclaimer on the site’s home value tool. Zillow goes a step further, publishing how imprecise its estimates can be. Every major site urges house hunters to consult appraisers or real estate agents to refine their results.

Beware: These online sites don’t evaluate each property individually to determine “true market value.” They clump nearby homes together, using tax assessor’s office data and recent sales. “Their values are based on broad computer algorithms, not refined human expertise. They don’t take in to account each homes unique characteristics, upgrades, condition, extras or other intangibles that affect value,” continued Mallon.

Zillow has accepted revisions on 25 million homes – perhaps the strongest testament to how seriously consumers take its estimates and how off its numbers were.

“People need to realize this whether they are buying, selling or refinancing because it can greatly affect their decisions and their bottom-line. With the right professional counsel, no one should be leaving money on the table in this housing market,” concluded Mallon.

Elaine Mallon, who operates as a Dual Agent for Coldwell Banker's Palos Verdes / South Bay AND the state-of-the-art Manhattan Beach branch offices, is a Certified Negotiator, a Certified Corporate Relocation Specialist, a Certified Palos Verdes Area Specialist, an award-winning Marketing & Public Relations veteran, and a regular contributor to local and national online publications on matters that affect Buyers & Sellers today. She is eager to help with all your HOME BUYING & SELLING NEEDS! www.CaliforniaMoves.com/Elaine.Mallon.