You may get an estimate in seconds whether you’re thinking of selling or refinancing your property, or if you’re just interested about its current market value. Simply enter your address into an online home-value estimator like,,, or the CoreLogic tool found on many bank websites.

To arrive at an estimated value, all estimators gather information from public sources, gather facts about your home and recent comparable sales, and run the information through a computer model. However, the quality of the output is only as excellent as the data supplied.

According to Richard Borges, president of the Appraisal Institute, estimators can’t measure the influence of good or bad condition, extra quality in design and construction, reno­vations that didn’t require permits, a purple façade, or a landfill next door.

Key Takeaways:

Exposing the Inaccuracies of Automatic Home Estimators

If you own a house, you’ve certainly pondered how much it has appreciated in value since you initially purchased it. While using an online estimate may appear to be simple, it’s possible that you’ll wind up with some erroneous figures, which is bad news for sellers in today’s competitive market.

Do you want to maximize your equity and learn how much your house is really worth? Here are some reasons why consulting with a local real estate agent is always preferable to relying on a “automated” estimate.

Most estimators rely on user-reported data or algorithms

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that rapid estimates are equivalent to professional appraisals, but this is simply not true. These real estate websites use potentially obsolete algorithms that use property tax assessments, historical sold data, and user-reported information to calculate a prospective selling price. Some estimators even employ artificial intelligence to scan images of your property, leaving plenty of potential for error.

Estimators won’t take recent improvements into account

If you’ve made any major home renovations, they might not be accounted for in your quick estimate. Most estimators will factor in any approved work listed on your most recent tax assessment. However, if you executed a project that did not necessitate permits, it is unlikely to affect the estimate.

For example, if you recently completed a kitchen makeover without needing to obtain a building permit, an estimator could value your kitchen based on its condition prior to the modifications. And if you rely on these erroneous figures, you may be undervaluing your assets without even realizing it!

Your estimate could be off by thousands of dollars

The general accuracy—or lack thereof—of computerized home estimators is perhaps the most serious concern. While many claim to be within 10% of a home’s true market value, that 10% could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. When you add it all up, that’s a possible difference of $30,000 for a $300,000 home!

Above all, keep in mind that these estimators will never be able to replace a professional value. If you’re serious about selling or understanding the value of your house, you should work with a local real estate agent instead of an estimator—and take an estimator’s advice with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: Only Price Your Home with a Local Agent

Do you want to know how much your house is worth? Don’t place your trust in a computer; instead, talk to a real estate professional in your area. We know how to assess how much your house could sell for in today’s competitive market because we’re local specialists. For an added level of precision, we can factor in your improvements and current sold statistics.