New tool aims to show home's real value

The new algorithm shows values could be more than owners think. KING 5's Ryan Takeo reports.

SEATTLE - Even in the Puget Sound area’s red-hot real estate market, one Seattle startup says its database shows more than 80,000 homeowners could be making more money.

Seattle-based CityBldr said it uses 189 data points to show the best use for every piece of property in King County.

That includes the home of Josh, who lives in the Columbia City neighborhood.

“I know that my house is worth more than Zillow (Zestimate) says what my house would be, because people have literally offered me more money than that,” he said.

Josh’s neighborhood  is a developer’s dream. Two brand new, modern townhomes up the block are priced at about $800,000. Another building across the street is being built.

“Nonstop,” Josh described the recent developments, which is something he does not like. He’d rather have his homey neighborhood like he planned when he bought the place.

His neighborhood’s land is valuable because it changed to LR-2 (lowrise-2) shortly after they bought it. The LR-2 designation means individual cottages, row houses, townhouses, or apartments can be built where single-family homes currently sit.

CityBldr shows the market sales price of Josh’s home is around $394,000. The CityBldr estimate shows it would be worth $481,000 to developers.

“No one’s ever told you what your property is worth to a developer,” said CityBldr’s Jeff Bumgardner. “They only know what your property’s worth to a homeowner,” he said, comparing his company’s site to other home value estimate websites.

But Josh said he is not interested in selling. His reasoning goes beyond his feeling he enjoys his community.

“Even with the money that we would take from this house, we can’t afford to buy a house anywhere close to this neighborhood,” he said.

Developers pay to use CityBldr so they can bid on homes if homeowners want to sell.

The startup plans to roll out to more cities throughout the year.

Copyright 2016 KING


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