Price This House
A bevy of websites offer to value your home, free. How good are they?
(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.
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 6.83%[UP] 30-year fixed jumbo 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.  $417,000 or less.  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.  Annualized.  Closed to new investors. SOURCE: Morningstar.