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    The Difference Between Online and in-Person CMAs

    A real person needs to value your home, not an algorithm.


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    What’s better: an online comparative market assessment (CMA) or one done by a real human being? You may have seen Zestimates or other online estimates of value that are automated from iBuyers or another online provider. There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that Zestimates (Zillow’s estimates) have gotten much better over the past few years; they used to be wildly inaccurate, but they’ve come a long way.

    However, to get the true value of your home, you need a real person examining the details. Here are the three main reasons why:

    1. A person can evaluate your house from the inside. The algorithm from a website can’t walk into your home (as far as I know). It doesn’t know about any improvements you’ve made, whether the roof is new, if you’ve made updates, whether you have great landscaping, etc. It also doesn’t know about any deficiencies your house may have. For example, it won’t know if your neighbor has 17 dogs that bark constantly, if the home needs paint, or has rotting wood. All these things affect the market value of your home.

    2. Online estimates aren’t as comprehensive. When an actual person does a CMA, there’s page after page of guidelines they go through to ensure they’re checking everything. They look at square footage, your crawl space, the driveway, the number of bathrooms you have, and much more. These guidelines ensure a much more accurate assessment, and these things can only be done by a human being physically at your house.

    “To get the true value of your home, you need a real person examining the details.”


    3. Online estimates aren’t as timely. This is the most crucial point of all. I used to chuckle at real estate agents who said, “I know what’s happening in the market on a day-to-day basis.” I thought, how much difference can a day make? Maybe a single day doesn’t make much difference, but a month certainly does.

    Recently, one property sold for $550,000, then an almost identical one sold for $600,000 just one month later. No online provider knows how much recently sold homes ultimately sold for, and that’s critical information when valuing a property. Work with an agent who has the experience to know what’s happening in the market right now.

    So if you need an accurate assessment of what your house or the house you want to buy is worth, you have to speak to a real person. Spotlight Realty would love to help you with that.

    If you would like us to value a property for you or you have any questions, reach us via phone or email. We would be happy to speak with you.

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