Trulia, one of the top real estate search sites, has announced that it is releases a beta test of their new service called Trulia Estimates. So far it will just be used in the San Francisco Bay Area to work the kinks out. Zillow has their Zestimate which has been in use for years. My personal experience with Zillow is that far too often they are way off. The challenge for consumers is you don’t know exactly which way they are off – is it +10% or -10%.
On thing that will be nice is that will all this auto valuation engines, it’s one more metric we can use to try to come up with fair market value for a particular property. For example, right now, for most properties, you can go to Eppraisal and you’ll see two estimates – one is from Zillow and the other is from Eppraisal. Another important, but not perfect data point, is the estimated tax value or assessment value in some counties. In the Twin Cities right now, every city has a slightly different metric, but quite often we are still seeing properties sell for less than 90% of their 2011 tax value. (Check with your agent, or contact me if you’d like that analysis for a particular city or suburb).