What about the online home value estimate? Is it accurate?


Home Values – Who Knows?


I recently had a conversation with a salesperson from a large, national online home search provider who, when I objected to their use of an automated estimate of home values, defended it with a vengeance. I simply couldn’t get him to see that including this estimate of value on their website, is not only very questionable in it’s accuracy, it’s actually a disservice to both consumers and Realtors alike. My point was this: The local, licensed professional Realtor or Appraiser ought to be the one who provides this information, as they are in the best position to provide a quality information in their opinion of a property’s value.






Here’s my argument: There’s simply is no replacement for the expertise of an established and licensed local professional when it comes to something as important as determining the current value of a home. When estimating the value of a property, there are factors taken into consideration that simply can’t be included in an online, automated valuation system. The careful selection of comparable sold properties, as well as taking note of the subject properties type and brand of windows, roof type and condition, type and condition of flooring, floor plan, heating and air conditioning brand and type, as well as the type and quality of surrounding homes in the immediate neighborhood, are all factors in the valuation process. In other words, it’s more than just square footage, number of rooms, and lot size that is factored in when matching a given property with sold comparables. These more intricate factors I mention can only be observed and considered in person while visiting the home. If they are doing their job correctly, both the Realtor and the Appraiser provide this perspective when doing a value estimate of the property.


Additionally, consider the fact that when many of the questions we have are “Googled”, we’re taken to the advice of a professional, or at least an experienced PERSON who can, because of their expertise, give us a quality answer. Contrast this with the stock answers given in the “FAQ” section of a given company’s website, and I think you will agree, the personal touch of an expert is far superior. My guess is that it’s because the “FAQ’s” and supplied answers are generated by some company algorithm, or some such. In fact, I’ve rarely ever been helped by a “help” section of a website, I always go to a forum hosted by people who actually know what they’re talking about based on training AND experience.


So when you’re interested in determining the value of a given property, my advice is to contact a local, licensed Realtor and ask for a professional opinion of the property’s value via a Comparative Market Analysis, or CMA. Most Realtors will provide this report in written form free, or for a minimal charge, depending on the circumstances. Often, this person winds up being a great contact for you for additional information about the local market should you move forward in buying something, or decide to list your house.  A licensed, professional appraiser can be hired to give you the best possible value opinion of your property. This is a more expensive avenue, typically $400-$500, but might be the best thing for your situation. In regard to the buying process when you’re looking at properties that are already for sale, a Realtor can do a CMA for you on the property in question, helping you to determine what your initial offer should be.






Finally, both the CMA, and the Appraisal, normally include an onsite, in person review of the property. Obviously, this type of professional, hands on evaluation of a property can never be done by an online automated system, and therefore is far more reliable and informative.. 

Thanks for reading! 

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Posted in Albuquerque Real Estate, Business, Business as Mission, New Mexico Real Estate, Real Estate, Self Employment | Leave a comment


This feels like the start of a great relationship! My thoughts, and a blog!  🙂               It was kind of spontaneous actually… I found myself looking at WordPress, then created an account, next thing I know, I’m writing.

I think it would be good to identify my purpose in doing this. This blog is dedicated to my thoughts and ideas, advice and facts, information, personal observations and stats, related to life in Real Estate. It’s what I do for a living, so I’m looking forward to share with you what I’ve learned in the time I’ve been doing it.

Fair warning: I will wax philosophical, even downright spiritual at times. But don’t be deterred, I believe the mix of information, personal experiences, as well as spiritual and philosophical notes will make for enjoyable, maybe even entertaining reading.

Maybe  a good launching point is how I got started.

I think most people have at the least a curious interest about Real Estate. That’s where it started for me. I remember my dad saying once, “Property in the Upper Rio Grande Valley has appreciated at an average of 10% per year”, and therefore, was a good investment. He did also mention at that time, the only hitch was you had to sell it, to realize your return. Very key point, dad. I believe he got this perspective being from a long line of property owners in the Rio Abajo. And I,  being in possession of a home on a 3/4 acre parcel here, am the youngest son of the same line and, because of this, have a sort of built in interest in Real Estate. Tat stuck with me, and seeing land parcels and property developments spring up in and around Albuquerque has always caused me to make the usual curious statements of, “I wonder what’s going in next to the Sanchez place..”, and, “I wonder what they’re building over there by the dairy”. Finally, this background and my interest in a particular piece of land near Tome, led me to call the office of friend and fellow church member Eric Eichwald.

Eric is a fascinating guy. He is classic New mexico people and I love him for that, among many other reasons. Maybe I’ll dedicate a blog post solely to him one of these days.  He’s the Qualifying Broker and owner at Exit Altura Realty here in Los Lunas, NM. Eric told me the property had just sold, but wanted to know what my interest in it was. I announced confidently, “I am interested in investment”. So he graciously showed me around the area a little, pointing out some properties and opportunities to buy land. But what really got me interested in the possibility of being a Realtor was when he told me about his company’s residual income program. Well, I like residual income opportunities, and I like the idea of real estate sales, so I went to school and got a broker’s license in the Fall of 2006 and got started.

“Great timing!”, you say? Yes, it was not great timing at all! The recession hit a couple years later when I was just starting, and I experienced some difficult years. But I’ve managed to survive by learning to be creative in my application of the Real Estate knowledge I acquire. That creativity, and a little opportunity presented me by a friend, got me started in property management. Property management carried me financially through the very tough years. While it was extremely helpful to have that stream of income, I found that I am definitely not well suited for managing residential rental properties. I got out of that and have since turned my focus on helping buyer’s and sellers.

Now, with God’s blessing within an upturning market and a thinner selection of competing Realtors, I’m a on track to have my best year in real estate ever! I’m really thankful for this, and would be remiss if I failed to mention that I owe all to God, who has worked in my circumstances to teach me a lot about what really matters in business relationships, and really, about all of life.

Since my background is in ministry, and I have given my life to Christ absolutely, I can say with confidence that He has me where He wants me to be, and I am very happy with His placement. Being self employed in Real Estate gives me the flexibility to help people, to seek opportunities in Real Estate related business, and to build a social media based prayer and encouragement ministry that serves Christian workers abroad.

It’s been a great start in a great career, and I’m looking forward to years more of successful involvement in Real Estae. Thanks for taking the time to read this, I want the next post to be more interesting, maybe even filled with some tasty real estate stuff you’ll find helpful.

God bless you! Talk to you soon!


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