What's the Difference Between an Online Home Estimator, Home Appraisal, and a CMA?

Thinking of selling your home or just curious to know what your current home value may be?
Let us help you navigate your next steps.

Online Home Estimator

An Online Home Estimate is an AUTOMATED PROCESS

It utilizes an algorithm to aggregate data of homes in your general area. An online home estimate is not an official appraisal, but is a helpful starting point to estimate your home value.

If you’re just curious to know what the approximate value of your home may be, an online home estimator is a great place to start. 

Getting an “instant” home value is appealing, but there’s a cost to that approach. According to Zillow, their online home estimator “Zestimate” has a median error rate of 7.5% for off-market homes. For a $300,000 home, that’s $22,500 you may be leaving on the table.

To better comprehend your home’s present value or determine a potential sale price, your real estate agent can offer you a more comprehensive CMA, which compares your home to nearby homes that have previously sold, taking into account any unique characteristics of your home, its location, and the neighborhood market circumstances.

Home Appraisal

A Home Appraisal is a BANK PROCESS

When a potential buyer files for a loan to buy your house, the home appraisal process begins. A licensed appraiser must hold either a state certification or a state license.

The house appraiser is an impartial third party who has no stake in how the sale turns out. The bank hires the appraiser simply to make sure it isn’t lending too much money for the house. The appraisal will include details about the neighborhood, the condition of the home, and previous listings that are similar to it so that fair market value may be calculated.

No. Many people confuse CMAs with appraisals, but the main difference between the two is the person responsible for conducting the review. A CMA is based on sales data and prepared by a real estate agent, and an appraisal is performed by a certified real estate appraiser. A CMA and an appraisal are different processes, but both help you to get you accurate and up-to-date information about how much your home is worth.

Comparative Market Analysis


A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a process performed by real estate agents to determine an appropriate listing price for your home.

We use our proven experience, MLS data, and your home’s unique location, features, and other important factors that can increase/decrease your home’s value.

  • Property condition
  • Location
  • Age of home
  • Market
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Square footage
  • Price
  • Improvements
  • Amenities

The MLS is only available to real estate agents, which is part of what making listing your home FSBO (for sale by owner) so challenging. If you’re thinking of selling your home now or in the next few months, a CMA is the best place to start.

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Columbus, Ohio?

Our Agents

What We’ve Achieved
Helping Clients

Our team has been buying and selling homes in Columbus for the past 25 years and consistently ranks among the Top 5 selling real estate teams in Central Ohio. 

  • #3 Selling Team in Central Ohio (2022)
  • Over 1,800 Homes Sold in Central Ohio
  • Realtor® Magazine 30 Under 30 Agent in 2018 (Rob Riddle)
  • In-Contract Magazine® 10 Under 40 Honoree (Rob Riddle)
  • Columbus Board of REALTORS® $50 Million Club
  • Pinnacle of Success Award, Ohio Association of REALTORS® 

Client Testimonials

“Rob and his team are amazing! Rob is genuinely a great person and works extra hard to ensure that your home buying em experience is outstanding. One of my best customer service experiences. I’ve used Rob for two homes now and will continue to use and recommend him to everyone I know! He is truly the best and most caring person and an exceptional realtor!”
Simona R.
"Rob provided us an outstanding service! He supported from start to end and beyond. Great negotiation skills, he was able to get a great house down to meet our budget and made the process easier. Great communication skills. He was able to provide us all kind of option on service providers, like for house inspection, painters, flooring and few others as well as recommendations for getting the home on the best conditions!"
Andres C.
"Rob and his team we're on point. They were able to guide us through a very problematic buyer. Rob took away a lot of pain on our part. He was also a fantastic resource when we needed contractors to get that extra boost in our outdated kitchen. From the first meeting, to the free truck rental for our move, Thomas Riddle backed us all the way."
Charles M.

Get Started With a Free, No-Obligation, Comparative Market Analysis.

From the start, we work with you to get the pricing right. We don’t just skim the top of the latest data and sales statistics. We are trained to recognize shifts in the market and our recommendations are based on comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis.

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Thomas|Riddle Real Estate Group is a team of licensed real estate professionals associated with New Albany Realty.
© Thomas|Riddle Real Estate Group – All rights reserved
220 Market Street, Suite 201
New Albany, Ohio

Get Started With A Free, No-Obligation, Market Analysis.

As full-time and fully dedicated real estate agents, our sole focus will be on your sale and your happiness. We will always be a call, email, or text away to advise you as needed.

Get Your Updated Home Value

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