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As one of your biggest assets, it’s important to know how your home’s value has changed over time. This is especially true if you are looking to sell, refinance, or even use your home’s equity to take out a line of credit. But with constant fluctuations in the market, improvements that have likely increased your home’s value, and a years-old appraisal in your hand, how can you accurately determine the value of your house at any given time?
Home estimate websites are a great place to start. While they can’t take the place of a professional appraisal or experienced realtor, these info-rich platforms give you a pretty good idea of where your home stands.
There are many platforms to choose from, and you'll want to find one with reliable values that offers frequent updates and has a solid data source to back up its algorithms. To help you make the right choice, here is a look at our top picks for the best home estimate websites of 2020.
Best Overall: Zillow
Whether you want to buy, sell, rent, refinance, or even remodel a home, Zillow offers many resources and estimates to help you make the most informed decision. With a user-friendly interface, data-driven metrics, and resources for buyers, sellers, renters, and landlords alike, this website takes our best overall spot.
Launched in 2006, Zillow provides a living database of more than 110 million homes across the country, both on and off the market. Their proprietary models allow users to quickly and easily see a home’s “Zestimate,” or Zillow-specific value estimate, which relies on both public data and user submissions for intel.
Calculations include an overall home value (Zestimate), rental cost (Rent Zestimate), and refi payment estimate based on current interest rate trends. These valuations also account for seasonal changes, regional metrics, changes within the last 30 days, and can even provide a one-year price forecast for a home.
While Zestimates aren’t exact—they have about a 1% to 3% margin of error, depending on your area and market—they offer a strong starting point when analyzing your home’s value. Zillow offers more than two dozen real estate-based apps between all major platforms, including the App Store and Google Play, making it easy to track and manage your property values at any time, from anywhere.
Most Accurate: Redfin
While there is no shortage of real estate websites to choose from these days, you will need to take many of their stated home values with a grain of salt. With that said, the platform offered by Redfin gets our nod for the most accurate home estimate website, with MLS-based data and an impressively low 1.65% margin of error.
To further accuracy efforts, 2006-founded Redfin updates home values daily while the property is for sale, and weekly when it’s off the market. Users can view homes on the platform via the web or the Redfin mobile app, which updates listings every five minutes.
Home value estimates from Redfin are calculated using as many as 500 different data points. These include recently sold listings in the area, the market as a whole, and even your specific neighborhood. Their network includes over 92 million homes across the country, and the Redfin CompeteScore can give you an idea of how a hot local market (and competition among buyers) could further impact your home price.
Most Trusted by Realtors: Realtor.com
As the official site of the National Association of Realtors, Realtor.com easily earns our pick for realtors’ most trusted home estimate website. And we’re not alone: It also earned an award for being one of Newsweek’s top three real estate databases in 2020.
The Realtor.com platform, launched all the way back in 1995, offers a slew of tools to help you sell, remodel, rent, or refinance your home, as well as make informed choices before you buy or rent someone else’s home. They have two mobile apps (one for general real estate and one for rentals) to let you manage your home data from anywhere, both of which are available for either Apple or Android devices.
Through Realtor.com, you can view your home’s estimated value, whether on or off the market, based on a proprietary algorithm that was developed from 17 years of partnering with licensed agents. You can track your home value’s progress over time and see how that value is expected to change over the coming year. Perhaps most helpful is that you can compare Realtor.com’s home valuation against other lender-grade tools, to see how they compare and get a more complete idea of your home’s value.
Currently, Realtor.com has just shy of 1,000 reviews on Trustpilot with a 3.5 out of five-star rating.
Best for Personalized, Real-Time Valuations: HomeLight
As sophisticated as their algorithms may be, most home estimate websites rely on broad or generic data. They may factor in neighborhood specifics and basic features of your home (square footage, number of rooms, etc.), but that doesn’t tell the whole picture. That’s why HomeLight is our top pick if you’re looking for a personalized, real-time valuation based on seven simple questions that you answer about your home.
Combined with local market trends, recent sales, buyer preferences, and public data, these questions allow HomeLight to give you a more personalized estimate than you may find elsewhere. HomeLight’s value estimator tool also pulls data from the five leading estimator tools on the market, allowing you to see a more accurate picture than if you only viewed one website.
HomeLight was founded in 2012 and currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Best for Area Comps: Real Estate ABC
Figuring out your home’s true value isn’t just about what an algorithm (or even an appraiser) says it’s worth; it’s also dependent on what a buyer would pay for the home. That’s why, if you’re looking to buy, sell, or refinance a house, you’ll want to look at area comps, as well.
Comps allow you to see what other comparable homes in your area have recently sold for, giving you a more accurate idea of how to list your own home. While your real estate agent can pull comps for you, you can also view them easily through Real Estate ABC, which is why we chose this website for our top spot when it comes to gathering local comps.
Founded in 1998, Real Estate ABC has built up a database of over 60 million homes. It offers users as many as 30 nearby comps when trying to research their own home value estimate, making the process as straightforward and fluff-free as possible.
Their home valuation takes into consideration factors such as lot size, interior condition, and property improvements, giving you more accurate numbers. While the home value provided is a Zestimate—or estimate provided by Zillow—the local comp data makes this platform both unique and valuable.
Best Mobile App: Trulia
If you’re looking for a mobile app that gives you streamlined, easy-to-navigate data about your home and its value, look no further than Trulia.
Trulia, which earns our top pick for home value mobile platforms, offers highly rated apps in both the App Store and Google Play. The App Store mobile app, for instance—which has a 4.8 out of five-star rating with more than 844,000 reviews—allows you to view your home and others in the area, see current value estimates and recent changes, and even read through neighborhood reviews and recent crime stats.
Trulia has been a trusted name in real estate since 2004, though the company has grown exponentially since it was acquired in 2015 by digital real estate giant, Zillow. The median error for Trulia Estimates home values is 5.3% overall, with estimates available on over 65 million homes nationwide. Currently, Trulia has a four out of five rating on Trustpilot.
What Are Home Estimate Sites?
Before buying, selling, or refinancing your home, you will likely be required to obtain an official appraisal of the property. This appraisal will take many factors into consideration (including your exact home’s condition) in an effort to tell you how much the home is actually worth.
A home estimate website seeks to do the same thing, just on a much more informal level. Using market trends, local data, home features, and area comps, home estimate websites use digital algorithms to calculate an estimated home value.
How a Home Estimate Website Can Help You
While the values offered by home estimate websites are not replacements for an official appraisal—especially as far as your lender is concerned—they can give you a rough idea of your home’s value trends over time.
You can use these numbers as a starting point anytime you plan to sell, rent, or refinance your home and need to know what it’s worth. These websites can also provide you with data and trends for your area (such as local comps) and even projections for your home in the months to come.
How Do Home Estimate Websites Determine Property Value?
There is a tremendous number of factors that go into determining a home’s property value, including everything from local crime rates to the quality of area schools, nationwide market trends, valuable property improvements, and the age of your home, to name just a few.
Home estimate websites take any number of data points and use them to create a proprietary algorithm that calculates your home’s estimated value. Some websites will also factor in local home sales and even seasonal fluctuations in price, so you know what to expect as the months go on.
Each website has its own method for calculating home values, with some being more accurate than others. It’s a good idea to get home value estimates from multiple sources, and always remember that they don’t take the place of a professional appraisal.
Are Home Estimate Sites Trustworthy?
Some home estimate websites provide more value than others, especially since the home valuations you’ll receive can vary pretty wildly.
Certain websites might disclose that their calculations have a margin of error as wide as 5% to 10%, while some get as close as 1.65% overall. You’ll want to take each value with a grain of salt regardless, as they are never as personalized and detailed as the valuation you’d receive from a hired appraiser.
Should You Get a Paid Home Estimate?
In some cases, you might want to know your home’s value estimate out of sheer curiosity or because you are interested in renting out the property. In that case, you can probably get away with home estimate website valuations, obtained through a few different platforms.
If you plan to work with a lender in some respect, though, you will probably need a paid home estimate. In fact, if you plan to buy a new home, sell your home, or refinance the property, the financing lender will typically require a professional estimate/appraisal anyway.
If you are the refinancing owner or the buyer, the price of this appraisal is usually on you. If you are selling your home to a buyer who is financing the purchase, they will often cover the cost.
How We Chose the Best Home Estimate Sites
In determining these top home estimate websites, we researched and compared more than 15 different platforms and the features they offer.
We looked at factors such as home value estimate accuracy and the metrics involved with calculating those numbers, to see who was able to consistently provide the most accurate numbers. We also looked at the ability to personalize those values to suit your home, making them even more accurate.
Ease of use of the platform weighed into our decision, leading us to choose websites that offered simple navigation and even streamlined mobile apps for access on the go. Of course, we also looked at customer reviews, consumer ratings, company awards, and even the professional real estate organizations that already trust those websites in order to find the best home estimate websites.