How Reliable Are Home Valuation Tools?

What’s your home worth?

It seems like a simple question, but finding that answer is more complicated than it might seem. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, Eppraisal, and others have built-in home valuation tools that make it seem easy, but how accurate are they? And which one do you believe if you get three different answers? Online valuation tools have become a key part of the home buying and selling process, but they’ve been proven to be highly unreliable in certain instances. One thing that is for certain is that these valuation tools have reinforced that real estate agents are as vital to the process of pricing a home as they ever were – and maybe even more so now.

There are limitations to every online valuation tool. Most are readily acknowledged by their providers, such as Zillow’s “Zestimate”, which clearly states that it offers a median error rate of 4.5%, with varying accuracy across the country. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that amounts to a difference of about $31,500 for a $700,000 home. For Redfin and Trulia, there are similar ranges in results. When you dig deeper into these valuation tools, it’s no small wonder that there are discrepancies, as they rely on a range of different sources for information, some more reliable than others.

Redfin’s tool pulls information directly from multiple listing services(MLSs) all over the country. Others negotiate limited data sharing deals with those same services, but also rely on public records, as well as homeowners’ records. This can lead to gaps in coverage. These tools can serve as helpful pieces of the puzzle when buying or selling a home, but the acknowledged error rate is a reminder of the dangers of relying too heavily on them.

Home valuation tools can be a useful starting point in the real estate process, but nothing compares to the level of detail and knowledge a professional real estate agent offers when pricing a home. An algorithm can’t possibly know about a home’s unique characteristics or those of the surrounding neighborhood. They also can’t answer your questions about what improvements you can make to get top dollar or how buyer behaviors are shaping the market. All of this – and more – can only be delivered by a trusted professional whose number one priority is getting you the best price in a time frame that meets your needs.

If you’re curious what your home might be worth, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations about your property and the surrounding market. And once you’re ready, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent who can clarify this information and perform a Comparative Market Analysis to get an even more accurate estimate of what your home could sell for in today’s market.

Posted on October 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm
Windermere DTC | Category: Selling | Tagged , , , , ,

Stay Safe While Selling Your Home with our Seller’s Checklist

Staying organized while uprooting your life and moving from one home to another can feel impossible. Not only are you trying to get the best financial return on your investment, but you might also be working on a tight deadline. There’s also the pressure to keep your home clean and organized at all times for prospective buyers.  One thing you can be sure of when selling your home is that there will be strangers entering your space, so it’s important for you and your agent to take certain safety precautions. Like so many things in life, they can feel more manageable once written down, so we made this handy checklist.

  • Go through your medicine cabinets and remove all prescription medications.
  • Remove or lock up precious belongings and personal information. You will want to store your jewelry, family heirlooms, and personal/financial information in a secure location to keep them from getting misplaced or stolen.
  • Remove family photos. We recommend removing your family photos during the staging process so potential buyers can see themselves living in the home. It’s also a good way to protect your privacy.
  • Check your windows and doors for secure closings before and after showings. If someone is looking to get back into your home following a showing or an open house, they will look for weak locks or they might unlock a window or door.
  • Consider extra security measures such as an alarm system or other monitoring tools like cameras.
  • Don’t show your own home! If someone you don’t know walks up to your home asking for a showing, don’t let them in. You want to have an agent present to show your home at all times. Agents should have screening precautions to keep you and them safe from potential danger.

Talk to your agent about the following safety precautions: 

  • Do a walk-through with your agent to make sure you have identified everything that needs to be removed or secured, such as medications, belongings, and photos.
  • Go over your agent’s screening process:
    • Phone screening prior to showing the home
    • Process for identifying and qualifying buyers for showings
    • Their personal safety during showings and open houses
  • Lock boxes to secure your keys for showings should be up to date. Electronic lockboxes actually track who has had access to your home.
  • Work with your agent on an open house checklist:
    • Do they collect contact information of everyone entering the home?
    • Do they work with a partner to ensure their personal safety?
  • Go through your home’s entrances and exits and share important household information so your agent can advise how to secure your property while it’s on the market.

Posted on October 12, 2018 at 2:38 pm
Windermere DTC | Category: Selling | Tagged , , , ,

5 Dangers of Overpricing a Home

 

It is still a great time to be a seller, but in much of the Western U.S., the local real estate market has begun to soften. With significant increases in inventory, buyers now have more choices and less sense of urgency. If you are thinking about selling your home, pricing it correctly the first time is critical. Here’s why:

  1. If you overprice your home, it won’t show up in some search results.

    Buyers search for homes using the parameters they desire. Price range is one of the most critical. If you set an unrealistic price of $850,000 for your home, all the buyers searching for homes up to $825,000 will fail to see your property in their search results.

  2. An overpriced home attracts the wrong buyer.

    An overpriced home will not compare favorably with the realistically-valued homes in a buyer’s price bracket. If your home is missing the amenities, square footage or other features of homes within the price range you’ve placed it in it won’t sell.

  3. Overpriced homes linger on the market and risk becoming “stale”.

    The interest in a home is always highest when the listing first hits the market. When an overpriced home goes unsold for a long period of time buyers often wonder what is wrong with the property. When a buyer moves on from a listing they rarely come back, even if you drop the price.

  4. You run the risk of getting less for your home than if you priced it correctly the first time.

    A Zillow study showed that homes that linger on the market tend to sell for significantly less than their listing price. When a home sits on the market for an extended period of time, buyers feel they have lots of room to negotiate.

  5. The longer your home remains on the market, the more expenses you incur.

    Every month your home goes unsold you put out money for mortgage payments, utilities and other home expenses that you will never recover.

Setting a realistic price for your home from the start is critical. If you’re thinking of selling, our highly trained experts at Windermere Real Estate can provide you with a comprehensive pricing analysis based on current market conditions.

Posted on October 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm
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A Week in the Denver MLS – March 29, 2016

With the home inventory at all time lows our team is constantly monitoring the listing activity in the local MLS – REcolorado, and some interesting observations can be made on reviewing the data over this past week.

This first graph takes a look at how new listing numbers (homes just placed on the market for the first time) compare with price reductions and failed sale attempts (withdrawn & expired listings) over the last 7 days.

Denver_Colorado_MLS_new_price_reductions_withdrawn_expired_off_market_listings_3-29-2016

The standouts from this chart —

  • Only 674 new listings came on the market.
  • Relative to the number of new listings, nearly half of that number reduced their price.
  • 229 listings were takes off the market because they failed to sell (roughly 1/3 the number of new listings)!

 

The listings that are priced well are moving very quickly and often choosing between multiple offers, but the impact of this lessens as price increases.  

Denver_Colorado_MLS_under_contract_sold_back_on_market_listings_3-29-2016

 

 

 

Once a listing goes under contract as it will either successfully close or go back on the market for some reason.

The data here shows that relative to the Sold listing numbers roughly 9 out of 10 are successfully closing which leaves 1 out of 10 coming back on the market.

We’ve seen this number fluctuate over the last 6 months, with the current numbers actually on the lower end.  This could be due to the fact that we are near month end, but some would still find it surprising given the low inventory market we find ourselves in.

Properly positioning a property within the market not only with the right price, but also an effective marketing plan and the benefits of the Windermere Certified Listing program have lowered our price reductions and expiration rate to nearly zero, while still maximizing the bottom-line return for our sellers.  To learn more, connect with one of the amazing Brokers on our team!

Posted on March 29, 2016 at 3:14 pm
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Getting Your Home Ready to Sell in Denver

Getting your home ready to sell may seem like a challenge, but you know that the more appealing the house is, the more likely it is to sell quickly. Windermere Real Estate 5280 serves Denver and the south metro suburbs down to Castle Rock.  We can help you with pricing, showings, and connecting with potential buyers, but what about the steps leading up to that first showing or open house? Many things, like cleaning the house and maintaining the lawn may seem obvious, but there are some more in-depth measures that you can take

Make Sure the Light is Right

Go through your home and make sure there are no missing or burned out light bulbs. You may even want to swap out bright bulbs for softer, warmer light, so that the home feels more inviting. For natural light, make sure your windows, blinds, and shades are clean so the light isn't diffused too much or reveal layers of dust.

Clean Out Your Closets

It's a fairly well-known fact that potential buyers will look in closets and cabinets to gain a better idea of how much storage space the house has. If your closets are overflowing or unorganized, the space can seem cramped, and buyers may think that you haven't taken the time to get the house ready. By removing a portion of the clothes in a closet or dishes in a cupboard (and cleaning and dusting them thoroughly) the buyer can truly see the entire storage space.

Remove Those Pet Items

It's possible that the buyers will be pet-lovers themselves, but leaving dog food sitting out or the kitty litter tray in plain view can quickly change a buyer's mind. Take the time to clean the house thoroughly and remove any traces of your pets, and arrange care for them during the showing.

A majority of potential buyers will make up their mind about your house from the moment they set foot inside, and you only have once chance to make a good first impression. By following these steps and a few others, you can get your home ready to sell, and we can make sure that it sells quickly. Contact us today!

Posted on February 23, 2016 at 4:48 pm
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