Don’t ask Zillow to Zestimate 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It doesn’t know…
“How much is my house worth?”
I’m asked this question often, even by those who are potentially years (and in some cases decades) from selling their homes. A house is often times the largest asset that a person owns, so having some idea of its actual worth makes sense for a variety of reasons.
A few thoughts on how to figure out how much it’s worth:
1. Ignore Your Tax Assessment- Throw it out and try and unlearn whatever you think it has taught you about your home’s value. In my experience, the only thing that’s consistent about the tax assessment is how far off it is from the actual market value of the home. The only question, really, is if they’ve over- or under assessed the value of your home. What a county assessor thinks your home is worth has very little correlation with what the market will think your home is worth.
2. Stop Watching Zillow’s “Zestimate”- Zillow’s “proprietary formula” for determining your home value, the Zestimate, is the bane of my existence. The algorithm that powers the Zestimate has never been to your house, nor has it been to your neighborhood. It might pull from raw sales data, but it can’t tell you which house was next to the power lines, and it has no idea that the house across the street that just sold was owned by a hoarder running a sanctuary for runaway hampsters. Search Zillow all you want, but please, please, please stop looking at the Zestimate.
3. Don’t Google “How Much Is My House Worth”- Somewhat ironic, considering that you might have ended up on this page by Googling “How Much Is My House Worth. You should be using Google to find out who played Vicki on “Small Wonder” (Tiffany Brissette), or what’s the secret to making cookies soft (putting a slice of bread in the tuppwerware that you store them in). Let’s not forget, we’re talking about one of your most important assets- it’s just not something you want to trust to whatever you find on Google.
If you’re looking to figure out how much your home is worth, call a Realtor. Not quite as convenient or passive aggressive as scrolling through an App, and fraught with potential for follow ups and monthly newsletters, but really the best option by a country mile. I can tell you from experience, when I’m not writing snarky blog posts (or changing diapers), I AM A FULL TIME REAL ESTATE EVALUATION MACHINE. I think that many smart, active and insightful Realtors would echo my sentiment, and would be more than happy to help you figure out how much your home is worth.
If you don’t live in Atlanta, or if you live in a part of Atlanta that I know nothing about (Douglasville, Conyers, anywhere mentioned in a Shane Company radio advertisement, etc.) I’d be more than happy to refer you to a capable Realtor who can help you out. I will be more accurate than Google, the County assessor and the Zestimate combined.