Figuring out home values when the market is in flux is truly a job for experts. We have seen the national real estate market begin to rebound, and expect Santa Barbara and Montecito home values to soon start to reflect movement as well. Most local homeowners are in the habit of keeping an eye on area home values. But especially for anyone considering buying or selling this summer, estimating their home’s value is one of the first items on the agenda.
To get you started, there are a couple of different methods to help establish a ballpark estimate of what your home may currently be worth.
Certainly the quickest and easiest tool is the calculator on Bank of America’s website. This free online calculator uses accumulated public record data joined with other factors to produce an estimate of home values. All you need to do is enter your address and wait for the magic.
I do have to put in a word of caution, though. Like any computer program, it’s fast and precise --but also maddeningly capable of disregarding what we humans think of as ‘common sense.’ So, while it is fun and interesting to get this kind of readout, it’s at best a ballpark estimate (and at worst, downright misleading!).
There are many other sites boasting similar tools -- variations of the same idea and pulling from slightly different data sets -- but the approach they use to calculate home values stays the pretty much the same. You only need to enter your address and there you go: instant estimate.
While these calculators are great at aggregating data, nothing replaces human input. Real estate is, after all, the very definition of a local occurrence, so if you’re looking for more than an estimate, it’s time to call the pros in.
When an experienced Santa Barbara agent (someone like yours truly) creates their professional estimate, it not only takes into account the trends for properties closest to yours, but also incorporates real life features -- such as the curb appeal your home and garden offers right now. The better kept your property is at any given time, the greater its estimated value should be. An agent can also suggest the small changes that work best to enhance a property’s value.