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How to Lose Thousands of Dollars on Your Home
By Texas Assoc. of Realtors
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 • Posted May 19, 2014 12:43 PM

You may be tempted to determine your property’s value by using real estate websites. While these can be fun to look at, here’s what you should consider before your base your sales price on what a website tells you.

The information is usually incomplete and inaccurate

There are several houses in my neighborhood on these sites with blank fields—no bedrooms listed, no mention of roof type, etc. It’s hard to see how omitting such data can lead to an accurate property valuation.

Check out what these sites say about your house and your friends’ houses. I’ll bet you find plenty of two-bedroom homes listed with three or vice versa. Do you think an extra—or missing—bedroom affects a home’s price?

Your home may have been built the same year as three others on your street and may share a similar floor plan. But does a website know that you look out on the greenbelt, while your neighbors see only other backyards?

Why is their data so unreliable?

Some real estate websites cobble together whatever data they can find from whoever is willing to provide it. They don’t have real estate professionals in your market—or any presence in your market for that matter. Perhaps their business model prioritizes other goals. Not exactly a recipe for reliable information.

When these sites put incomplete and inaccurate data into a computer algorithm without a local’s understanding of your neighborhood, how good do you think those “guesstimates” are?

How you can lose money

These online values may be so far from the realities of your market that they’ll cost you money. If the site values your house low, you could sell for less than it’s worth. And if the site overvalues your home, it could sit on the market for months, making buyers think there’s something wrong with it—which could result in the house selling for less than it’s worth.

Not all websites are bad

There’s plenty of good real estate information on the Internet, if you can tell which websites to trust. Look for sites by Texas Realtors; they’re the real estate experts in your area.

Texas Realtors get their information directly from your local MLS. They work in your market every day, studying prices and market conditions. Texas Realtors have taken hundreds of hours of classes to get their real estate licenses and keep up with continuing education. And they pledge to abide by a code of professional conduct that goes beyond the minimum requirements of state laws and regulations.

If you’re not sure how to find a Texas Realtor, visit TexasRealEstate.com and use the Find a Texas Realtor search.

For more information on buying or selling property in Texas, please call Waymond Lightfoot at (210) 386-5201.

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