[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (http://firefinance.blogspot.com).]
Editor's Note: This post was published at the Carnival of Personal Finance #45.
We are planning to move next month. While researching about value of houses and cost of rental apartments at our new destination we came across a very interesting article in Forbes. The article is titled "Click here to see your home depreciate" and is authored by Stephane Fitch. We learned about two new websites that allow us to monitor the value of our homes.
One of the websites is RealEstateABC.com whose parent company is Internet Brands who also happen to own the popular website carsdirect.com. The other website is zillow.com and is quite popular with a regular traffic in the order of millions. Both these websites have tools which use proprietary algorithms to estimate the value of your home based on assessors-office data about your house, median home prices in the area and recent sales of comparable homes nearby. The best part is that these websites are free, they do not require any registration and they do all the necessary computations within seconds to give the user an idea of the selling price of his / her own house .
We tested both the websites and helped some of our friends to evaluate the selling price of their current homes. The records were pretty detailed, showing the dates the house was bought and sold, amount of money paid as property taxes per year, current valuation of the house, prices of houses sold recently in the same neighborhood and the value addition for all the home-improvements done. They also provide satellite maps showing the house with its price tag and expanding the same concept to each and every house of the neighborhood. Consequently its easy to get an idea how the real estate market is doing in your neighborhood.
For more details you can play around with the tools provided at the above websites and also read through Stephane's entire article at Forbes. Since we are tech savvy people, we loved the idea of playing around with real estate from the comfort of our homes with our computers instead of having to go to a real-estate agent.
Eventually for buying and selling we do have to take help of a real-estate agent. Some of our friends guided us that we can do away with real estate agents by trading our houses on the internet! Well we have to research into that, might be worth the time since it will save around 10% of the house's selling price in fees.