Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Real Estate and Real Answers

Have you all been to Zillow.com? It is a site which can give you a rough estimate of your home's worth based on homes that are selling around it. It isn't terribly accurate for my situation, but it is incredibly interesting. The reason it doesn't work so well for me is that my home is being compared to homes that are selling for over $500,000 and ones that are selling for about $50,000. Obviously, I live in an area with wildly different types of homes.My neighborhood is on the edge of lower income homes, but also just a few blocks away from some of the more expensive homes in my city's limits. Plus, my area has many rentals which are kind of a whole different ballpark when it comes to valuing the property. Still, I like the site. I think it would be a lot more accurate for people with homes in fairly homogeneous areas, but in any case, it provides a lot of very interesting information. For example, according to Zillow, home values nationwide decreased 9.7%, but the percent in my home town was quite a bit less.

Recently Zillow had both bad and good news for me - my home value had a zestimate (Zillow+estimate) that put it way below what I paid for it. On the other hand, my cabin in the woods has gone up in their value - so it almost (but not quite) evens out. When I first saw their stats and that my home's zestimate was about $30K less that I had paid for it, I had a mini heart attack, but then I took a second look. The first thing I noticed is what I said, the comps are based almost entirely on location, not necessarily on homes that are the same square footage or have the same number of bedrooms. Then something else hit me - even if those numbers were perfectly accurate, it really doesn't matter because I'm not selling my home right now. It is kind of like what people were saying about 401K plans, unless you plan on retiring in the next 5 years, don't let those low numbers depress you - just solider on. Value is only important when you need to ask someone to give you money for it. So, like my 401K I will watch the Zillow numbers just to keep an eye on what is happening, but I have no plans to let it effect how I live.

In other news not at all related to my house, Frugal Chick tagged me to tell 6 interesting things about myself. So, here you go:

  1. I am an avid birdwatcher and try to landscape to make my yard a sanctuary for birds, but I hate sea gulls and Canadian geese with a passion.
  2. I have never broken a bone and up until a couple of years ago had never had a cavity.
  3. I love what I call "grandma blankets." Grandma blankets are those afghans that look like they were probably knitted or crocheted by little old ladies - they are usually a blend of inexpensive yarn in eye searing 1960's colors. (I have a fabulous one in 60s brown, cream, and harvest orange.) I have a modest collection of them that I have picked up at Salvation Armies and other thrift stores. They are my favorite thing for snuggling up in with a cup of tea and a good book (after they have been given a good wash, of course. Somehow they always seem to smell like "basement.")
  4. I love my Honda Civic SI, but I seriously miss driving a pickup truck. Especially in Michigan in the winter. I have driven three pickups plus a wide variety of other vehicles in my life. (My dad sold used cars.)
  5. One of my life goals is to learn a foreign language. Preferably Arabic.
  6. I am a hermit at heart and sometimes think I could go a long, long time without human interaction, but I am simultaneously blessed with some of the best friends and family a girl could want and I love spending time with them.
According to the game, I am supposed to tag six other bloggers to tell me six facts about them. Instead, I tag you next - tell me something interesting about you!

Photo by: A Shadow of my Future Self.


Budgets are Sexy said...

a hermit huh? haha...could you go a long time w/out the internet too? like no blogging, researching, etc? cuz THAT would be hard ;)

Dawn said...

Yeah, I could. I am still fairly new to blogging. I'd miss it though, I really enjoy the internet, my blog, other folk's blogs, etc. But as long as I had a steady supply of books, I'd be good.