Price This House
A bevy of websites offer to value your home, free. How good are they?
By Kate Ashford

(MONEY Magazine) – Chances are, you've checked the value of your house (and your neighbor's and your boss') on one of the many free appraisal websites that have gained buzz in recent months. They're certainly hours of fun, but would you bank on the information? Can these sites--using as little as street address and zip code--really come up with a figure in line with a professional appraisal? To find out, we ran the numbers online for a five-bedroom, five-bath Alpharetta, Ga. home, and then sent in American Society of Appraisers member Johnny Wilson to work up a report for comparison (typical charge, $495). Two sites gave ranges encompassing his estimate, though both spanned about $50,000; the lowest value, from Zillow.com, was off by a whopping $166,000. BOTTOM LINE: Seeing the house in person, Wilson was able to take into account its great condition and terrific landscaping, which a remote assessment would have missed.

HOME-LOAN RATES

NO END IN SIGHT Fixed-rate mortgages increase with inflation, so if it continues rising, these loans will follow.

1-year adj. 6.18%[UP] 5/1 adj. 6.58%[UP] 15-year fixed 6.56%[UP] 30-year fixed[1] 6.83%[UP] 30-year fixed jumbo[2] 6.98%[UP] Home-equity loan 8.19%[UP] Home-equity credit line 8.67%[UP] Current average

NOTES: As of July 21 for home-equity loan and credit line; as of July 14 for all others. [1] $417,000 or less. [2] More than $417,000. SOURCE: HSH Associates.

DEALS: Fixed-Rate Home-Equity Loans

The banks below offer some of the best loan rates and terms. Use them as a benchmark for your own shopping. Visit hsh.com for more deals.

NOTES: As of July 19. Rates and terms subject to change. SOURCE: HSH Associates.

LARGEST REAL ESTATE FUNDS

NOTES: As of July 19. Largest funds by assets. [1] Annualized. [2] Closed to new investors. SOURCE: Morningstar.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.