The Globe does a great job of comparing online real estate services, including Zillow.com, Domania.com, HouseValues.com, and Realestateabc.com.

The article uses each of the services to estimate the value of a home, then compares them with an appraiser’s opinion, as well as three real estate professionals.

The four online services estimated values ranging from $305,700 to $417,200, with the bulk of the values between $350,000 and $370,000.

The appraiser gave a more precise and pragmatic estimate: $332,000, just above the last sales price. Three realtors who were independently consulted and saw the home also estimated its market value at $325,000 to $345,000. So the Internet services seemed too high to be realistic.

My take? While it’s fun to use the online services, and perhaps useful for tracking the value of your home over a period of time, if you’re thinking of selling your home, you talk with someone from the area to most-accurately estimate the value of your home.

Whether or not you use a real estate agent is ultimately up to you. Most agents provide a useful service, not just by giving an accurate estimate of the potential value of your home, but helping market your home, finding buyers, and assisting you through the negotiating and closing process.

Source: Ready to make a move? Real estate websites offer appraisals, but for the most realistic estimate, nothing beats a personal visit – By Kytja Weir, The Boston Globe

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