Review: Online Home Value Tools


Last weekend a Tudor-style four-bedroom home (1276 Dana Ave in Palo Alto, CA), received three solid offers and sold above the listing price of $3,235,000.

I thought I’d use this fresh sale to test the accuracy of several home value estimator websites. Here are the rather surprising results:

Actual Sales Price: Over $3,235,000

Zillow: $2,775,516
Comments: The interface includes a nice image showing sales prices of nearby homes.

Eppraisal: $1,966,161 to $2,660,099
Comments: The delivered price range seems to be too wide to be useful. The site includes a satellite map and table showing comparable houses in town. The entry field for city and state seemed to be very fussy with regards to format. (Don’t forget the comma and don’t enter the city/state AND the zip.)

CyberHomes: $2,426,391
Comments: I liked the aerial photos and clean visual appearance, as well the historical price listings of nearby houses.

Real Estate ABC: $2,831,000
Comments: The search engine didn’t work the first time I tried it, telling me to come back later. It worked the second time around, when I entered the zip, not the city/state. I like their house pointer graphics and the “Recent Sales” table a lot. The one unique feature that this site had was a sliding “market conditions” bar, that significantly improved the estimate for Palo Alto’s hot, hot market.

Conclusions: Overall RealEstateABC (pictured above) had the most accurate price estimate and the best user interface. But with the best estimate being more than $400,000 underpriced, these tools are clearly no replacement for a living, breathing realtor who knows your local market.

PS: I guessed the list price as $3.2M when I first drove by.