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Pricing Boston condos for sale. Zestimates are not accurate, but can be useful

The growth and ubiquity of the Internet sure has made it more fun to shop for a new Boston condos for sale or compare your Boston Seaport condo to others in your neighborhood. Right?! We all enjoy perusing the photos and features of kitchens and palatial master suites. However, in many ways the Internet has not served downtown Boston condo buyers and sellers well. Not to mention, it’s made my job as a Boston downtown broker a little more challenging when it comes to educating sellers and buyers about home prices. That’s right, I’m talking about the Zestimate and the misconception it creates about a properties actual market value. That’s not to say that online valuation tools are not useful; however, they need to be used cautiously and in context. Here are my top three pieces of advice to keep in mind that will help you make the best of these tools when looking at home values:

Use online Boston condo valuation tools as a starting point

Using websites like Zillow and Trulia to learn about the general range of value for your Boston condo for sale or a tool to start looking for a home to purchase is a great idea. Just remember to think of the valuations as a very general starting off point and remember that even according to Zillow, their prices error plus or minus 5%.  Boston midtown condo buyers, it’s best to use these sites to narrow down the general areas and general neighborhoods where you want to look for a home based on your budget.

Use multiple sources to get a better picture. 

Once you’re ready to dig into a Boston Seaport condo valuation a little deeper, consult more than one source to begin to get a clearer picture of a home’s true value. For example, take a look at another home valuation website like Trulia.com as well as the MLS, by using a site like Realtor.com. On Realtor.com you can even find actual sales data for comparable properties. You’re likely to get a better, more complete picture of what a home’s worth; however, remember it’s still not a true analysis or appraisal.

Consider a home’s specific features. 

Even after you’ve done all the research I’ve mentioned above, keep in mind that none of these algorithms, search engines, or data miners can figure in—yet, anyway—the specific features of a property that will undoubtedly effect its value. For example, the value will certainly be affected if the kitchen  is outdated or the Charles River Park condo association landscaping is well maintained; or consider the gorgeous bathroom remodeled. These are just a few items that online valuation tools can’t capture and adjust the value for.

When the internet took over the real estate business 20+ years ago, the dumbing-down of the valuations began.  Now that we are making life-changing decisions based on split-second exposure to imagery from a hand-held device, the process has gone binary – a quick yes or no, without much other consideration.

It’s not just the buyers – realtors do it too.

The possibility that somebody got a deal in Beacon Hill doesn’t even occur to us, and because we’re accustomed to making snap decisions, just the price disparity alone will cause most to swipe to the next listing – and not give it another thought.

Let’s look deeper, shall we? There are three ways to evaluate what happened:

What is the neighborhood history?

 

What was the condition of the comp?  

 

What was the listing history? 

 

Will buyers today be willing to look deeper than one bad comp?

I hope so

Conclusion on Boston condo valuations

With these tips in mind you can use the online home valuation tools, like the Zestimate, for what they’re intended; as a general guide to beginning your new home search or preparing to sell your current home. And when you’re ready to get the actual value of your home or begin shopping for your next home, give me a call. I’d be happy to put my Certified Pricing Strategist skills to work for you and show you how we put together a complete home valuation analysis.

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