Advertising
Advertising

Here Are 6 Free Hacks To Help Estimate What Your Home Is Truly Worth

Here Are 6 Free Hacks To Help Estimate What Your Home Is Truly Worth

As a homeowner considering selling your most valuable asset, your home, it can be frustrating to not have access to the same tools that would make quick work for any licensed real estate agent to estimate your home’s actual value. Yet, as an ordinary citizen, you may have spent hours or even days on end navigating popular websites that might help you find out what your home is worth.

If that’s you, then worry not, because as you can see in the graphic below, well over 27,000 home owners just like you have googled the key words “how much is my house worth”, just in the last 30 days alone.

Ahrefs' How Much Is My House Worth Search Volume

    With numbers this staggering, and because we know that many homeowners become frustrated with realtors and want to sell their home without using a realtor …We thought that it was time to share some little known free hacks to estimate the current value of your home (on your own).

    1. Use Free Online Home Value Estimators like Zillow

    It’s not a secret that Zillow has a free home appraisal calculator built into it’s real estate website, but is it accurate in determining what your home is worth? Zillow has reduced it’s 2006 error rate of 13.6% down to a current error rate of only 7.9%, according to Zillow‘s own research.

    Advertising

    So should you solely use Zillow? No, but you should absolutely find the Zestimate for your specific property, write it down and see how it compares to the other figures that you will gather later.

    2. Generate Legitimate Offers From Real Investors

    As a seasoned real estate investor of over 5 years, I’ve spoken to and dealt with many homeowners that say they “need to sell”, yet they were hesitant to sell to me at my price. Why? Not because my offer was too low; it was because they didn’t feel that they knew exactly how much their house was really worth.

    So, to ease their concern about value, they went through the extra leg work to contact a few other investors and also got offers from them. They then compared those offers against mine to give them a better picture of their current “as-is” cash value of their home. But why not take it one step further and ask each investor that you meet with, to tell you what they would sell the house for, once any improvements were completed.

    This is an excellent way to get a good ballpark figure of your home’s value, based on the hard work & research of 3 unbiased investors.

    3. Research Your local Courthouse Deeds of Trusts

    Most homeowners don’t have enough experience in the real estate arena to know what they don’t know. In regards to finding your home’s value using guerrilla techniques, you might not know that researching your local courthouse’s deeds of trusts could help you get a very good idea of what homes are selling for in your very neighborhood. Here’s one way to go about finding a deed of trust:

    Advertising

    1. Using your local County Appraiser’s Website, enter your street name or a street nearby where you live

    step-1

      2. Find a house that has a Deed date of within the last 12 months, like this one

      Screenshot_2

        3. Enter the home’s legal description into your County’s Clerk Office Records Website

        Screenshot_3

          4. In the search results, find the last Deed of Trust filed. Click on it…you’ll see the buyer’s loan amount when they purchased the property

          Advertising

          Screenshot_4

            Once you have the property’s loan amount and loan type (e.g. conventional/FHA/ VA), you can easily work your way backwards to get an idea of what the home probably sold for. For example, most FHA buyers finance the full 96.5% of the purchase, so calculate ($174,000 X 1.0362 = $180,298).

            This hack will get you very close to the total purchase price of the house, however, this method works best with FHA buyers. Many times the deed of trust will specify if it was an FHA loan or not.

            4. Estimate Value Based on Your Home’s Appraised Tax Value

            Having run hundreds if not thousands of comparable sales in my career as a Realtor/Investor, I have found that in my county (most likely many counties are the same), a properties assessed tax appraised value is equal to about 88-92% of it’s market value. This means that if a home’s market value is $100,000, then most likely its tax appraised value will be in the range of $88,000 to $92,000.

            If you’re county appraiser’s tax rolls are closely aligned to actual market values like this, then this quick hack may work for you.

            Advertising

            5. Call For Sale Signs in Your Neighborhood

            FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, file photo, a "sale pending" sits atop a realty sign outside a home for sale in Surfside, Fla. The National Association of Realtors releases its pending home sales index for June on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

              Sure, if you’ve ever purchased a home, you already know that if you’ll call an agent’s for sale sign the agent will tell you the home’s current list price, square footage, and beds/baths of a home, but they won’t and simply can’t tell you what it’ll actually sell for. That’s because they don’t know…unless it’s under contract or pending sale.

              If you’ll simply ask the agent if the home is still available, and they say “no, it’s pending sale or under contract”, then you next question should be; Is it selling for close to list price? If the agent answer’s “yes” or “yes, right at list price”, then you basically just received a “real-time” value of your home (considering the home is very similar to yours).

              6. Get Comps From Someone You Already Know

              Asking someone you know that has their real estate license for advice is probably one of the easiest and least time consuming ways to get an extremely accurate value of your home. Why? Because real estate agents have access to their local MLS, which is chock-full of “real-time” sales data in your area. As a current licensee, I have never told a friend or a friend of family that I wouldn’t run a comparable sales report for them, so why not work through your existing Rolodex and call around to see who you know that knows an agent?

              More by this author

              James Vasquez

              Real Estate Investor

              Man focused on selling his home himself Here’s 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Sell Your House Yourself Here Are 6 Free Hacks To Help Estimate What Your Home Is Truly Worth Here Are 6 Free Hacks To Help Estimate What Your Home Is Truly Worth 5 Signs It's Time To Fire Your Real Estate Agent 5 Signs That It’s Time To Fire Your Realtor

              Trending in Featured

              1 Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) 2 How To Start a Conversation with Anyone 3 Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context 4 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day 5 5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

              Read Next

              Advertising
              Advertising
              Advertising

              Last Updated on August 20, 2019

              Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

              Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

              Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

              This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

              The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

              Curiosity

              Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

              People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

              Patience

              Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

              Advertising

              When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

              Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

              A Feeling for Connectedness

              This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

              A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

              The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

              With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

              Advertising

              1. Research

              Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

              Learning the Basics

              Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

              Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

              What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

              Hitting the Books

              Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

              Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

              Advertising

              Long-Term Reference

              While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

              My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

              2. Practice

              Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

              A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

              Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

              3. Network

              One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

              Advertising

              These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

              Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

              4. Schedule

              For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

              Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

              Final Thoughts

              In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

              If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

              At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

              More About Self-Learning

              Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

              Read Next