Is a Free House Appraisal A Good Measure of Market Value?

Free Appraisals Are not a good Measure of House Value

A Free House Appraisal Sounds Great!

Until you realize that the value provided by "instant" or "online" house valuation services isn't a good indicator of the value of your home. Before you pop off this page, think for just a minute about what you really need.

Are You Looking for the True Market Value of Your Home?

Or are you just killing time waiting for the movie to start?

Home Valuation Sites Vary in Values Provided

Let's play a little game. Let's visit a few of the on-line websites that offer information on house values and see how the numbers compare. For this game, we'll use a house on Leafwood Lane in Austin, Texas, 78750. This is a 2902 square foot house in Northwest Austin. Although all of the information below is from the public records, we don't feel comfortable sharing the actual address.
  • According to the Travis County Central Appraisal District, this property has a tax assessment value of $333,962.
  • According to, this house is worth $338,672.
  • According to, this house is worth an estimated value of $353,124, with a range of $317,811 – $406,092.
  • According to, this property has a tax assessed value of $348,618. Note that this value doesn't match the actual tax assessment value obtained directly from the taxing district.
All of these web sites have valuable information about the local real estate market. All of them have tools that you can use, as a home owner, to increase your knowledge of real estate. These sites provide a fantastic service, and we love to visit them as much as you do. You can even follow the links above to visit them and look up your own home. What these sites don't do, however, is provide an accurate market value of a home. If you're re-financing, or thinking of selling, you need an accurate market value for your property so that you can plan your next move with confidence.

When you need a real estate appraisal, the good ones aren't free.

Take the House Valuation Test

Visit the above sites and check on the values reported for your home. How do they compare with your expectations? How far apart are the highest and the lowest values?

When You Need to Know Market Value, Call Appraisal IQ

We Know Austin, and We Know Value. When you're ready to plan your next move, give us a call. If you're re-financing, your lender will need to order the appraisal. Ask your lender if they have Appraisal IQ on their roster of approved appraisers. If they don't, please direct them to our website, or have them give us a call at (512) 541-2107. The success of your deal depends on receiving an accurate valuation for your property. Trust Appraisal IQ to go the extra mile to ensure that the appraisal report on your property best reflects that true market conditions for your area.

A Little More Information on House Valuation

Why is a formal appraisal the best way to determine the value of a property? Appraisers take steps that even the best AVMs (Automated Valuation Models) can't: A Certified Residential Appraiser:
  • Will measure your home, to ensure the square footage used in your house valuation is the actual square footage - public (and private) databases (like the tax records) are often wrong.
  • Will be able to compare the condition of your home to other homes that have recently sold - if your home is excellent condition (clean, well-maintained, upgraded) and the recent sales aren't, you will most likely receive credit for the superior condition of your property.
  • Will know, if he or she is a local expert (and don't hire an appraiser that isn't), that the big street that separates one neighborhood from the next is frequently more than just a big street. Often times it is also the boundary by which the desirability of housing changes, due to school quality, amenities, proximity to transportation or employers, etc, and should be used as one of the market area boundaries. Whether or not your appraiser understands this will impact his or her determination of value.
  • Will individually assess the impact of external conditions to your property, such as the proximity to desirable amenities, or non-residential property (gas stations, churches, schools, shopping centers, etc.). Automated Valuation Models aren't sophisticated enough to judge the impact of these conditions to an specific property.

Call Appraisal IQ (512) 541-2107

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Independent Real Estate Appraiser in Austin, Texas: Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell Counties