With the real estate market heating up across the country, homeowners are once again speculating about how much their residences are worth. Zillow is the website that curious homeowners have traditionally turned to for online valuations. Type in your address and Zillow will provide you with its Zestimate of what your house is worth. A frequent complaint against Zillow is that the automatic estimates don’t take in enough factors such as view, noise, aesthetics and details of the house. I’ve always found the Zillow estimates to be too low for my own home. And that was especially true after my husband and I replaced all of the windows and doors in our mid-century home and swapped the lawn in our large front yard with native-plant landscaping.
Now, however, Zillow is getting some welcome competition. Redfin, an online real estate company, has just rolled out a superior home value tool that both homeowners and buyers can use. Unlike Zillow, Redfin’s tool allows you to help generate a home’s value. It does this by asking you to select from a menu of residences in the area that you think represent the best comparable properties. You can also adjust the number of bedrooms and baths, as well as a home’s square footage before Redfin does its calculations. I found that feature handy because the square footage for my house on Zillow is about 300 feet too small. When I used Redfin, after correcting the square footage, the valuation of my house was $81,000 higher than on Zillow. If you’re looking for a house or you’re just curious about how much equity you’ve got, Redfin is a fun tool to use.