How much is my home worth?

How much is my home worth? While it is rude to do so, this question must be answered with a  question. To whom? You? A potential buyer? The bank? How about the most likely one you are looking for, the housing market? So the real question is, what will my house sell for if I put it up for sale?

I realize that you came here hoping to punch in your address and maybe a few details about your home and then have an answer flash across your screen…but unfortunately it doesn’t really work that way. At least not if you want an accurate answer. So lets talk about how we can find your homes market value.

The first part of my answer is going to be to tell you where you will NOT find an accurate answer as to your homes value.

  • Any website that claims “instant home valuation”. That information can not be gleaned with data alone, and the portions of it that can be figured out with data need accurate information beyond what we are currently managing with algorithms. Yes I am telling you that the estimate you got from Zillow (or whatever other site you may have found) is not only wrong, it is probably not even close. I hope you didn’t make a major life decision based off of it.
  • Your tax records. People frequently think that the counties assessment is an accurate reflection of their homes value. While I am sure there is a county out there some where that does a very good job of assessing market value of houses… I am equally sure that yours is not one of them. There is no standardization between counties for how they find this value other than it is a means for figuring out how much they can charge you in taxes. So just know that your tax assessment is not a good way to find that value.

The second part of my answer is going to tell you how you can get a valid valuation for your home.

  • An appraiser. For about $500, you can have a professional appraiser come out and determine the value of your home. They use highly standardized methods which are known as the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. This is considered the most accurate measure of a homes value, and an appraisal will be used to determine how much a bank will lend a potential buyer if you do sell your home.
  • A Realtor. Simply because we want to list your home for sale for you, most realtors will come to your house and perform a Comparative Market Analysis at no charge. While a CMA does not carry the same weight as an appraisal (unless it is a Brokers Price Opinion performed within the standards of USPAP), a quality realtor will find a selling price that will be within 5% of what the market will bear.

The third part of this write up is why online valuations are useless.

Here is where people expect me to tell you that computers can’t sort it out. Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem with using automated valuation has to do with the limitations of data input. Yep, its a human problem.

You see, these algorithms follow the same basic formulas  that Realtors and appraisers use. What they don’t do though; is account for anomalous data, exceptionally good or bad homes hidden in the data, adjust for curb appeal or other aesthetic issues, or accurately weigh current market conditions into the equation.  Again, its not because computers cant do it, it is because it is not currently possible to give them enough accurate data for them to do so.

The human problem is also the human solution. When I look at the neighborhoods listed, expired, and sold history; I look over each listing to spot non conforming data and try to understand if it is part of the underlying trend or if there is something about that home that made it worth significantly worth more or less than the rest of the listings. I do the same when I assess your home.

Only after considering these nuances can I determine the value of a home that I am pricing.

Hopefully this section will help save all the Realtors of the world from angry sellers that think they know their homes true value…because Zoro told them.

The fourth and final part of this article is to tell you how to find what your home is worth.

It is simple really. Give me a call at 317-657-8059 or email me at to make an appointment for me to come perform a comparative market analysis on your home. There is no cost or obligation for this service.

Oh yeah if you want you can use my handy web form too.

If you are thinking about selling your home, or if you would just like to know what your home may bring on the open market; fill out the form below and request a CMA on your home.
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About Robb

A husband, Dad to 5, and Grandpa to 9. US Navy Vet. 18 Year Postal Employee turned full time Realtor. I enjoy a wide variety of things, but you will find that here I mostly write about Indianapolis, government/politics, recent news, and whatever book I am reading or have just finished at the moment.
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