In these times everyone is worried about the value of their homes. Home values have fallen 21.8 percent since the housing market peaked back in 2006. The problems with the housing market are painfully obvious to me, the house across the street from me has been abandoned and there are around four houses for sale some of which have been on the market for more than a year. The biggest hit we have taken so far was a house of comparable size which was purchased for $248,115 and three years later sold for $199,900. When something like that happens you immediately think about how it affects you and the value of your home. According to Zillow.com 1 in every 5 houses sold in a 12 month period was a foreclosed home, my sister is trying to buy a short sale house right now.
I really don’t believe home prices are going to start to stabilize and get back on the up and up until the massive inventory of foreclosures gets snapped up, and people get back to buying homes they can afford. If you are looking to sell your home soon you should probably take a look around and see what values in your area really are. You aren’t going to get anywhere if you list your house for what you want to get when homes in the area are consistently selling for $20k to $30k less. One of the homes in our neighborhood had chosen to list their house for $282,000 in a neighborhood where a house hasn’t sold for $260,000 since 2006, and it was theirs.
There are several ways to keep up with the value of your home and what homes in your area are selling/sold for I looked at a few and looked up the value (according to them) of my home.
1.) Zillow.com – $236,000
Zillow is probably one of the best known sites for estimating your home value. They include an aerial photo of the property, they show my house two houses down the street, so I wouldn’t rely too much on it. Additionally they provide home details such as square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and previous home sales data. The below chart show my homes value (Dark Green), US Home Values (Blue), Zip code Home values (Light Green), County Home Values (Orange), and State (Light Blue).
2.) Cyberhomes.com – $229,482
Cyberhomes has much the same data included in their reports as Zillow but they seem a little low on their value and that makes me sad. The stats for the home were also off, they listed the house a 3 bedroom 2 bath and it is really a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath. The real kicker is they list my neighbors house at $244,900 he has the exact same house/layout just has a no longer screened in porch out back. They do have a nice comparison chart, see below, that lists your homes value (dark blue), the zip code value (grey), the city value (light blue), and the state value (Orange). They didn’t have an option to add on the US Values which I really liked at Zillow.
3.) Eppraisal.com – $242,082
Again this site is kind of like Zillow and Cyberhomes but their data is even less complete. Where the other two sites listed the original sale price of the home, this site does not. Additionally they also pointed me to the wrong house in the picture and listed my house as a three bedroom home instead of four. Maybe I really have a three bedroom and the fourth bedroom is supposed to be something else. I liked that it shows the median age, income, and population for our zip code.
4.) Your Local County Appraisal – $241,700
I use my local counties online GIS system to get data about homes in our neighborhood, it lists the sale prices of the properties as well as tax appraisal and amounts due for each property. While not my county you can see an example of this type of system at Union County, NC’s website. I think the appraisal listed is wrong, we recently got a new one in the mail from the county listing our house at $261,000, which is pretty ridiculous considering the housing market right now.
5.) Pay an Appraiser – $258,000
This is a little bit extreme, considering you will be dropping between $400 and $500 to find it out. If you are going to be refinancing your mortgage though this is a requirement. The appraiser who did my home was a pretty a cool guy and did a thorough job of the assessment. I was happy with the result, since it got me qualified for my refi, but now I think it sucks. Because I had this appraisal done right at the same time I got my new county appraisal I don’t have much to stand on to try to dispute their appraisal. I am just going to have to suck it up and pay the increased taxes even though there is a 0% chance of me selling my house for even $258,000.
There you have it, this list isn’t all inclusive so let me know if you have something or somewhere better to check for this kind of thing. I hate it that my home value keeps dropping but at least I am in it for the long haul so eventually things will turn for the better.