In my state they collect almost no data in the Real Estate Transactions. Basically how much it sold for and when it sold. Any ideas on how to get more details on the properties sold such as beds/baths, square feet etc.
Try an independent online resource or get a hold of an agent. If you aren't networking with local agents and you can't find the info any other way what have you tried so far?
Currently I look up the "zestimate" on zillow.com but I don't know how accurate that is. I look at several properties in a week and I don't want to bog my Realtor down with getting property values for me unless I want to look at the property and I usually don't ask to look at the property unless it is priced below fair market value. Do you have any online resource suggestions?
Zestimate is a terrible idea. Zillow themselves have said that they are off by anywhere from 20% one way or the other. You are better of using the "similar sales" and sorting by distance. Use comps 6 months or newer and in similar lay out if possible. Try to get 3-5 good comps. Get an average sqft. and multiply that by your home's sqft.
That is really the only useful way to use zillow for judging values.
You really need to get in touch with a Realtor or someone with MLS access.
When in doubt pay less.
Anthony, I don't know a thing about Vermont markets. However, you mentioned Zillow... I do not trust the information provided by Zillow. Some of it, maybe most of it, most of the time might be close or closer in some markets than others. But I know there was a property listed in my market by the owner who was out of state and I had asked about the list price (listed on CL privately not with an agent) and he cited Zillow for his resource for choosing a list price. I know my market very very well and he was asking twice what I would have imagined was an average price for that type of property. He was convinced he had done good research etc etc so I knew there was no way to get him to come down that far. I just went about my business after that. Be careful of your sources on the numbers.......
Kenneth was probably right, try an agent, they should have a good handle on this subject and have docs to back it up if they sell any property at all.
Vermont is a very difficult state to find comps. Professional Appraisers have difficulty pricing property, especially 5+ unit Multis and commercial property, this comes from a Vermont Appraiser whom I am friends with. One of the main reasons I got my real estate license in Vermont was to have access to the MLS and it's data. It costs me $800/year to keep my license but I feel it is worth every penny. I would recommend you get a license as well, it is not overly difficult, but it does take time, effort, and money.
ps Zillow is worthless in Vermont, not enough data to be accurate and rural areas are not very similar. In my home town there are million dollar houses next door to single wide trailers, this doesn't make an appraisers job easy. (and keeps computers from projecting accurate values)
When I had difficulty obtaining property characteristics as an appraiser, I would submit requests to county assessors office. They would be a small charge per property. Appraisers usually save their data and might share characteristics as well.
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