Home Valuations Options: Automated vs. Real Estate Agent

Automated home valuations have been made popular by the Zillow real estate website, however, there are many other home valuation websites available to the consumer as well. We decided to continue our investigation using the property from our previous blog post (4730 Spring Creek Drive, Excelsior, MN). Is it possible to get an accurate home valuation without the help of a licensed real estate agent?

In our previous test, Zillow gave us a home value of $838,165 for the subject property, which as we pointed out had just sold for $550,000. Instinct tells us that the fair market value of this house is closer to $550,000.

Chase Home Value Estimator


A Google search for the term “Home Value” turned up a number of alternatives to Zillow. The first results was for the Chase Mortgage Home Value Estimator. We decided to give it a try. The first thing we noticed that we really like is you have the option of changing the values for # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms, total rooms, square footage and year built. The home valuation estimator then modifies the valuation based on the inputs. It’s pretty common for there to be errors in the data, so the ability to make adjustments is important to determine the fair market value of the property. Leaving the values as-is, the Chase Mortgage Home Value Estimator gave us a value of $557,000 for the property. We think this is pretty close, based on the recent sale price. Another feature we like is it gives the details for the homes used to determine the value.

Redfin “How Much is My House Worth”


The Redfin tool for determining the value of your house doesn’t allow for adjustments to the property like the Chase tool. Instead, you simply enter the property address and Redfin gives you an estimate. In this case, the Redfin tool estimates that the house is worth $591,267. Again, this information seems to be much closer to reality than the Zillow tool. We like that Redfin shows us the details for the recent homes that have sold in the area. We can compare for ourselves if we think the comparable homes  are similar to the subject property or if an adjustment should be made.

RE/MAX Home Value Estimate


The RE/MAX home value estimator doesn’t seem as complex as the other options we’ve looked at. With the RE/MAX tool, you enter the address and it gives you an estimate without the ability to make any adjustments. In the case of our test property, the value returned was $550,000, exactly the recent sale price. I guess, that might be accurate. The home only sold a few months ago in Excelsior, MN where home prices are relatively flat. Of course, if you used a local real estate agent, they would have a better sense of local market conditions and could provide the most accurate estimate of value.

Referz Custom Home Value From a Local Real Estate Agent

It doesn’t come as a surprise to most people that the most accurate home valuation is going to come from a local real estate agent who specializes in the area where the home is located. Local real estate agents spend their days going in and out of local houses throughout the neighborhood. A computer analyzes the values based solely on numbers such as square feet, lot size, age of the house, etc. Only a real estate agent who has been through local homes knows if a house was trashed inside, had a pest infestation, had a bad floor plan, was updated or still looked like it was from the 1950’s. A local real estate agent knows that sometimes a house located three or four blocks from the subject property might be in a less desirable neighborhood and that could drastically impact the value. It is difficult for a computer algorithm to understand these nuances.

We noticed that our Google search for the term “home value” 


Published in home valueTags:
  1. […] you recently sold your house? If so, did you lookup the value using the Zillow Home Values tool prior to setting the price? How accurate was the pricing tool? We would love to hear from you. […]

  2. Jan 2 years ago

    I used the Chase Home value tool to find the value of my house in Las Vegas last year. I wanted to get an estimate of the value prior to contacting real estate agents. I found it to provide some valuable information. I liked that the Chase tool gave me the list of homes they used to determine the value of my house. I discussed the comparable sales when I met with a real estate agent and we discussed the homes he used vs. the homes used by the Chase home value too. The agent used two of the same properties but he found some other home sales that were better.

  3. Profile photo of Chuck Harris Author
    Chuck Harris 2 years ago

    We have spent some additional time using the avaible online home valuation tools and have found that the Chase tool is pretty good. It sounds like it was helpful for you and was helpful with educating you prior to meeting with an agent.

  4. Mitch M 2 years ago

    I wrote an offer for a house in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and the appraisal came back yesterday for $429,000. I checked the value of the house using the Chase tool and after inputting all of the details for the property it gave me a value of $426,000. Pretty close!

  5. Danny Rand 2 years ago

    I like the Redfin tool better than the Zillow home value tool. It seems to be more accurate and its easy to use.

  6. Lionel J 2 years ago

    The reality is that there will never be a substitute for a local agent to provide a client with an accurate valuation of their home. I am a realtor in Chicago and for the past few years when I meet with clients about 70% of the time they will reference the Zillow or Chase value. In many ways it makes my job more difficult because the client thinks the online valuation is correct and if my market analysis shows a lower price, they think I am under pricing their home to make a quick buck. So frustrating!!!

  7. Joshua Rankin 2 years ago

    Las Vegas real estate prices have been getting so out of reach. I have been renting for the past few years and just met with Craig Tann to discuss what I could afford to buy. Before the meeting, I thought I was going to be able to get a great house for about $300,000, but it turns out that the type of house I want is going to cost closer to $500,000 which is out of my price range. I was really hoping to buy but now it looks like I’m going to be stuck renting for a bit longer.

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