How To Estimate The Value Of Your Home Without Getting An Appraisal

If you are in the market to sell your home the best thing you can do is to get a qualified appraiser to provide you with an appraisal of your home.  This will ensure that the most accurate sales and listing information is used to give you the most precise value estimate.Birmingham,AL Home/House Appraiser

If you are just curious about the value of your home there are various online methods such as Zillow and Trulia, but personally I don’t think they are that accurate.  I have used them for fun and found that they give value ranges that can vary by as much as $50,000.  It doesn’t do you any good if you find out your home is between $300,000-$350,000, or some other similar value range.  With a little bit of investigation you can probably come up with something on your own that is more accurate.  Most of these sites provide sales data but it’s the interpolation of the data that leaves much to be desired.  They will usually take the sales price, which is good information, and come up with the price per foot using the gross living area (GLA) from county data, which is the bad information.  They then take this price per square foot and apply it to your home’s square footage (from county data-once again, bad information) to come up with a not so accurate value estimate.  Not all county square foot information is inaccurate, however I have found more bad than good.

While the method I will give you for estimating your homes value is not the most perfect, it will give you a ball park estimate, which is no worse than the online methods.  It will probably end up giving you a better handle on your real estate market as well.  The first thing to do is go on line and locate closed sales in your neighborhood.  You can do this through web sites like these:

  • Trulia
  • Zillow
  • Realtor.Com
  • (local website for the Birmingham, Alabama area)

If homes have recently sold in your neighborhood, and you have addresses and home owners names, you may also be able to look up this information on the county tax assessor website.  This sales information will tell you what homes have actually sold for.  You need to decide which homes are most similar to yours.  If your home has a finished basement, only look at homes with finished basement, and so forth with other features.  By looking at several of the most recent closed sales of homes similar to yours you will get a pretty good idea of what price range your’s might sell for.  In addition to closed sales you can also look at homes that are currently for sale.  These homes will give you an idea of what the upper end of the range might be.  The final sales price of these homes for sale will typically be less than what they are listed at because buyers usually negotiate down from the list price, especially in today’s “buyers” market.

By looking at a combination of closed sales and active listings you can get a fairly accurate picture of where your home might fall within this range.  Have you ever used this method to estimate your homes value?  Do you have any other  websites you have used to located sales information?  I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on facebook.



  1. Good article, Tom. Nothing compares with an appraisal, but online resources can provide a “ballpark” (said with a grain of salt since the “ballpark” may be close to market value or wildly off-base). 🙂

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