Thanks to eHub for pointing me toward Zillow, which raises the standard for home valuation web sites. Domania was my previous favorite, but Zillow takes the service to a new level, estimating values for all of the properties in a neighborhood and providing a chart of value change and previous sales over the past 10 years. Zillow is also easier to use, as the AJAX interface presents additional data in popups rather than in additional pages.
My only complaint is that the home values appear to track average dollars-per-square-foot for the zip code too closely. In our neighborhood, property values change significantly street by street. I took a street on which properties had recently sold in the 500’s and another on which they had sold in the 700’s — both are now valued about the same. At the same time, Zillow claims to estimate home values using the same technique that assessors use — taking the average of five comparable properties (“comps”) near the property in question. I haven’t completely reconciled this claim with these irregularities.
Even if the comprehensive results are not as perfect as they appear, this is an enormously valuable tool for individuals seeking to inform themselves without the help of real estate agents.
Have you taken a close look at Zillow values?