It can be frustrating to visit one of the online sites to check your home’s value only to find it a lot lower than you believe it should be. If you’re thinking of selling, it can be a big problem: most buyers start their search online and once they see your home listed will go to one of several sites to get their first estimate of the real value. If this value is much lower than your asking price, it is unlikely that your home will sell for as much as you would like.

The reason the automated sites are inaccurate is that they work with averages. The sites are very good at determining the average price in the neighborhood. However, the program hasn’t seen any of the homes and doesn’t know if they were all foreclosures that needed $100k of work or if they were spectacular homes. It also doesn’t know if you have a panoramic sunset view or superior upgrades compared to the rest of the neighborhood.

Up until now, you just had to live with the number provided by most of these sites. However, I recently partnered with the company that provides these valuations. If you go to and select “do not have a key code”, you can put in your address and the system will show you a range that web sites are using to publish your home’s value. If you disagree with that value, simply select “Adjust My Home Value!” and you will be asked a couple of questions about your home. I will be notified to investigate the estimate and then can instruct the company to change your online value. If you are thinking of selling do this before you list your home and buyers rush to the online sites that might be under valuing your home.

Scott Voak, the top selling agent in 92127 since 2008 (data from SANDICOR MLS as of 6/1/2013) and the host of Real Estate Matters that airs Sunday Mornings at 10 a.m. on AM 1450, provided this information.  Email him to subscribe to his weekly real estate newsletter – Monday Morning Coffee.