There are quite a few ways to find out what your home is worth, and now there’s one more, thanks to Redfin. Its estimator tool launched today, and the company says it’s the most accurate in the industry with “the lowest published error rate of any valuation estimate in the U.S.”
Competitor real estate listing site Zillow has its Zestimate tool, but Redfin says what sets it apart is the information it uses from the Multiple Listing Services (MLS), like the house’s gorgeous view of the water or its location on a noisy street. Its 500 data points about the market give the tool a 1.96 percent median error rate on for-sale homes and 6.23 percent rate for those that are off the market, according to Redfin. What took Redfin so long to get into the game? Unlike Zillow, which simply lists the properties that are for sale, Redfin is a broker and had to abide by the National Association of Realtors’ rules, which until recently forbade this kind of estimator tool using MLS data, according to TechCrunch.
I looked at a couple homes for sale in Seattle, where Redfin’s headquarters are located. For a two-bedroom home, the Zestimate was $434,541, the Redfin estimate was $449,929, the Trulia estimate was $496,000, and the Chase Mortgage estimate was $443,220 to $552,780, and the Realtor.com estiamte was $401,942. That’s quite the gamut of price ranges, but the owners used Zillow’s “Make Me Move” tool to set their dream selling price at $450,000, very close to Redfin’s estimate.
The new Redfin tool isn’t available in all markets; right now, it has listings for 35 metro areas. Since I’m not a homeowner, I used my parents’ and sister’s addresses in Michigan and came up empty on the Redfin estimator. Also, interestingly, its information on when both houses sold was wrong (both said in the early ’00s, though they were bought in the last five years). Zillow had an estimate on my sister’s house and up-to-date information on when it was bought, but it couldn’t find my parent’s house at all. For those markets where Redfin’s estimator is available, though, it can provide buyers and sellers with another piece of information to assist in the process.