How To Make $1,000 Finding Properties

Are you looking for a unique way to make money? Have you considered finding vacant houses in Maryland and earning money from them? Guess what? You can make up to $1,000 finding vacant or unwanted houses.

earn $1000 finding vacant houses just like this property in Baltimore

Keep reading and I will show you how to find vacant or unwanted houses in your area and explain the two ways you can make money from them – up to $1,000!

You can always use an extra $1,000, right? And if you pay attention to what I am about to tell you, this could be the easiest grand you’ve ever made. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s not and it’s totally legit.

So, how can you get started earning money for finding houses right away?

#1 Way to Earn Money Finding Houses

Find me a vacant house in your area and I will pay $500 if I can locate the owner and close on the property.

So how do you find vacant houses. Well, that’s easy. In fact, it’s as easy as driving, walking, jogging or biking around your own neighborhood.

an overgrown yard like this one is an excellent indication that a property is vacant or ready to be sold for cash

Do you see a house with a roof that is collapsed? Or lots of broken windows? Or an overflowing mailbox? A yard with overgrown grass or one strewn with litter could indicate a vacant property. These are all telltale signs that no one is living there any more.

Even handmade “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs are excellent indications that the owner of the property wants to sell their house fast.

we by houses for sale by owner all over Maryland just like this one

So what do you need to do to cash in? It’s so simple: just write down the address and send it to me. I track down the owner, make a deal on the house, settle on the property and give you $500!

This can be in ANY neighborhood. I generally buy houses for cash in Maryland, but I can make a deal in any area of the country.

It really is that easy!

#2 Way to Earn Money Finding Houses

Make me an introduction. If you have a family member, friend or colleague who has a house that needs to be sold quickly, please introduce me to them ASAP. If I can make a deal on a house that you found me via an introduction to someone you know, I will pay you 10% of my fee – up to $1,000 – when I close on the property. I’m sure you could use an extra $1,000, right?

houses that are inherited are often unwanted and ready to be sold fast for cash

Why do these people want to sell? They may have inherited an unwanted house from an older or deceased relative. Perhaps they have a house that just has repairs they can’t afford, like a new roof or nonfunctioning HVAC system, and they just want to cash out and move on.

They may be a tired landlord, sick of dealing with non-paying tenants or fixing toilets at 2:00am. Someone may need to sell a house fast due to relocation for their job or maybe they are military and have to do a Permanent Change of Station (PCS). A fast relocation often requires a fast home sale that can’t always be achieved with a realtor. Finally, you may know someone that just needs to downsize, perhaps an empty nester. They have been living in a large house for decades, haven’t upgraded or fixed anything, and just want to sell fast and move to an apartment or condo.

tired landlords often want to sell their rental properties so they don't have to deal with non paying tenants or expensive repairs

These are all situations that require a fast sale of the house, usually without a realtor who may charge up to 6% in fees. Not to mention 8%-15% in closing costs for the homeowner.

If you know anyone in these situations, you can make up to $1,000 just by introducing me to them!

Of Course I Do Have Some Rules For You

I can’t just write you a check for $500 or $750 or $1,000 just for finding me a lead. I actually have to close on the property for you to get paid.

There are also some other rules regarding the types of properties that I pay for.

In the simplest terms, any property you locate for me CANNOT be listed with a realtor (on the MLS or otherwise), it cannot be listed online (Facebook, Craigslist, FSBO, etc.) and it cannot be a mobile home. It has to be OFF MARKET, meaning that I am the only one that knows it is potentially for sale by owner.

Is This a Legitimate Way to Make Money?

I have personally paid out $2,500 in 2022 to folks who have found me properties. An old colleague found me two houses for sale by owner in Maryland, via introductions, and I paid him $1,500. The two properties were in Annapolis and Fredrick. I also paid $1,000 to a hockey teammate and his wife for bringing me an old property owned by their family in Hyattsville.

This is real money for almost no time invested. If you can find a gig this easy that pays you up to $1,000 then go for it! Otherwise, find me properties in Maryland and other places and I will gladly pay you for the ones I close one.

How Do You Get Paid for Finding Houses for Sale in Maryland?

Well that’s easy. Once you find a vacant house or you are ready to introduce me to someone who is ready to sell fast, just email be or call me at (240) 424-0423.

Call me or email me TODAY and be on your way to earning extra income finding houses for sale.


Who’s Really Behind “We Buy Houses” Signs?





we buy houses in maryland sign

How many times have you driven past a corner in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Pikesville or Westminster and seen one of these signs screaming at you? I’ll bet it’s more than twice a day. At every major intersection in the state of Maryland, you see one of those signs. I guarantee it.

Full disclosure: I do buy houses. It’s my business. But I can also assure you that you will NEVER see one of those signs with my phone number on it. It’s not my style.

Does it work for other investors? Absolutely. Is it legitimate? Most of the time.

So if those signs are legitimate, and these folks are investors just like me, then why shouldn’t you call the number?

The answer: CREDIBILITY.

we are BBB accredited home buyers and have a 5 star Google rating

Honestly, would you trust your biggest asset – your home – to someone who just puts a phone number on a sign and attaches it to a pole or light post? Or would you rather trust a local home buyer with a 5-Star Google Rating, a Better Business Bureau A+ Accreditation and a verifiable track record?

A credible, transparent, honest cash home buyer in Maryland does not need to hide behind a nondescript sign and a phone number. It’s that simple.  

Don’t get me wrong. I certainly commend these other Maryland cash home buyers hustling around town, putting up hundreds of signs in the wee hours in the morning. I admire the passion and drive. But again, good luck verifying most of these folks. In fact, many of them are actually out of state investors who pay local folks to put out the signs for them. And when you call the number, you could possibly be talking to someone who’s not even in the country.

If you are like me, you don’t make a commitment to any service professional – doctor, lawyer, mechanic, contractor, etc. without doing an extensive search on the internet. You want to see if they are who they say they are and, most importantly, you want to see what other folks are saying about the quality of their work and their customer service. I do not ever hire a professional or make a consumer purchase without doing my homework.

The best part about dealing with a business like mine is that you can easily find all of the information you need just by typing in a few words on Google.

When you are selling your house, it’s not the same as selling an old sofa on Craigslist or Facebook. You are selling the place where you come home to every night after work, where you raised your children, where you barbequed with your neighbors. And when you are ready to move on, for whatever reason, you want to make sure you are trusting the sale to someone who knows the importance and who knows the neighborhood.

Selling your home should not be taken lightly. And if it’s a situation where you can’t sell it with a realtor, do you really want to entrust the place where you built your life to a phone number you saw on a handwritten road sign?

Here are some situations where you usually can’t sell your home with a realtor for the best result:

Expensive Repairs

Fast Relocation

Tired Landlord

Inherited Property

In any of those situations, you want to deal with a home buyer who has experience in those areas. You won’t find that information on a sign at an intersection. It’s 2022, and having the ability to research businesses is your path to making the right decision when it’s time for you to sell your Maryland house.

Sell Your Home Fast on the Internet!

Real estate in Maryland is HOT!

And selling your house fast is easy to do on the internet. If you are looking for someone to buy your house in Maryland as soon as possible, here are some quick and easy tips for harnessing the power of the internet to get a fair offer on your home. And these tips will work no matter where you are selling your home in the state of Maryland: Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Westminster, Reisterstown, Dundalk, Laurel, Frederick, etc.

Go Where the Buyers Are

Buyers are always scouting the most popular real estate web sites: Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, – all of them. Why? Because these sites show everything listed on the MLS and some For Sale By Owner properties. They do an excellent job at showcasing your Maryland home and they definitely attract the most buyers.

Plus, in many cases, you will only need to use one service for listing your property for sale and that service will make sure it goes to all of the major real estate web sites.

Consider Premium Listings

If you want to really highlight your house in Maryland and set it apart from other listings, many web sites offer the opportunity to keep your property at the top of the page or as a featured listing. You will pay for this service, but your property will be seen by the most buyers in this scenario.

Create a Website for Your House

If you have a little time and some basic web site building knowledge, you can actually create a web site for selling your Maryland house. There are several sites with free web builders that are very easy to use. Add some search engine optimization (SEO), a few quality key words in your content, and enticing imagery and you can quickly build a build a web site that puts your house for sale at the top of the page on Google!

Use Great Photos & Vivid Descriptions

Take some time to de-clutter your home so that you can take amazing pictures. Make sure you show the best attributes of each room, from the kitchen to the dining room to the master bedroom to the garage. Use words like “spacious”, “immaculate” and “modern” as opposed to “small” out of date” or “crowded”. First impressions are paramount on the internet so your pictures and content need to be as memorable as possible when you are competing with other home sellers. If you can, hire a professional photographer and someone to stage your house for the highest quality imagery.

Describe the Property with 100% Accuracy

Accuracy and detail are critical. If you aren’t telling the truth about your property then a potential buyer will know the minute they step inside. Don’t try to hide defects or fail to disclose any major issues. They will all come out in the inspection anyway if you get that far. Honesty is the best policy when you are trying to sell your house quickly for any reason.

Make Good Use of a Thesaurus

House hunters glaze over when they read descriptions of similar houses in the same neighborhoods over and over again. Use your imagination and make your property standout. For example, you don’t just have “a northeast Baltimore row house” for sale, you have a “stunning, updated end unit in Parkville” to sell.

Be a Data Junkie

Understanding the data about your neighborhood will give you an advantage over other sellers in this scalding hot real estate market. Use the real estate sites to find recent comps (preferably similar houses sold in the past 6 months in a half-mile radius). Read reviews of local real estate agents and reach out to some of them for pointers. Learn the trends in the market – best time of year to sell, most popular upgrades, buyer demographics. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.

If you employ all of these strategies and tactics, you are well on your way to selling your house for the best possible offer. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are selling to relocate, deal with an inherited property, don’t want to pay for expensive repairs or want to sell for cash without a realtor. By following these simple tips, you will sell your house quickly.

How to Sell Your Inherited House

Life can change extremely quickly, so you always need to be prepared. A little over 15 years ago, I sat down with my financial planner and drafted a living will, power of attorney document and advanced medical directives. Why? Because I was about to have a child and I wanted to make sure that she was taken care of in case anything ever happened to me.

I cannot stress how important it is to do sit down with an attorney and get this done. I deal with folks trying to sell a probate property in Maryland all of the time and it is a nightmare if there are no official documents are in place or if the probate process isn’t followed out correctly.

Bottom line – the probate process can be expensive and if you have a property in the probate process, not following the legal requirements will end up being a nightmare. And if you are the trying to handle the estate of a recently deceased loved one, hassles are the last thing you want to deal with in that situation.

Executors, personal representatives and heirs all need to be on the same page in order to allow for a smooth sale of the property. Critical decisions need to be made, often very quickly.

Inherited properties often come with a litany of challenges: the property may be in your name (whether or not you are aware of that), there may be a tax lien or unpaid utility bill that is not known to you, expensive repairs may be needed, or the property may be uninhabitable.

The longer you own an inherited house in Maryland, the more it’s costing you. I know this can be a very tough decision, but eventually the family has to decide whether to keep the property or sell it. The following is a simple guide to help you decide what to do in the event you inherit a Maryland property.

Assess the situation

Are you able to use the property? You need to decide if there is a reason to hold on to the property. If it is just sitting idle and neglected, chances are you are losing money every day. In many cases there are multiple owners as well so everyone listed on the deed needs to agree on what to do with the house. This is important because an inherited property should not be the source of a prolonged argument.

When you make the decision to sell, there are still several things that need to be done. First and foremost it is advisable to clean out the house as soon as possible. You also need to determine if anything needs to be fixed immediately, if it needs to be professionally cleaned and you need to determine any upfront costs that may come with listing the house with a realtor on MLS.

Ways to Sell Your Inherited House in Maryland

Use a Realtor
Listing with a realtor on the MLS in Maryland will likely be the most expensive route. You will need to account for repair costs, marketing costs, realtor fees and closing costs.

Sell For Sale By Owner
If you sell the house FSBO, you will still likely need to spend money on repairs and marketing. You will save money on realtor fees, but it is also much more difficult and time consuming to sell for sale by owner. There is no guarantee that the house will attract enough buyers since FSBO often doesn’t have the same reach as selling via real estate agent.

Sell To An Investor
Selling an inherited house in Maryland to an investor, such as Brad Buys Houses, will be the most cost effective option. By selling to an investor, you are saving on real estate commissions, agent fees, marketing fees and closing costs. Plus you won’t spend a dime on repairs since you are selling as-is. Most importantly, an investor will make a cash offer and set a solid closing date. If you know exactly when you will receive the cash for your inherited property and the amount, there is no guesswork. It’s all about peace of mind and closure.

Ultimately, a family facing the loss of a loved one needs to make critical decisions about the estate. If there is a property involved, review your options and choose what’s best for you and your family.

How to Deal With Non-Paying Tenants

Are you a landlord tired of tenants who are habitually late on their rent or simply not paying at all? Now, I know that COVID-19 has made things tough for people to pay their bills, so I am not talking about renters who are in a jam because of the worldwide pandemic. I am talking about fast talking tenants who never pay their rent, month after month – always giving you a new excuse.

You are facing a dilemma that is all too common for landlords across Maryland. It’s frustrating and unfortunately, your options are limited since Maryland is a very tenant-friendly state.

Don’t give up hope just yet though. I’ve got some tips that will help you if you are struggling with rent issues at your Maryland investment property.

Hopefully, you only accept tenants who pass a strict background check, who give you a deposit equal to at least one month’s rent and you have verified that they have a consistent source of income. After all, it is your rental property and you have the right to choose any tenant you want to live in your investment. Unfortunately, even with a solid lease in place problems sometimes arise when it’s time to collect the rent.

Here are four easy tips for dealing with non-paying tenants:


So many landlords use this strategy and it is certainly not recommended. Most of the time the problem is not going to just go away if you ignore it. You need to be proactive with your investments. After all, you spent good money acquiring the property, doing a rehab and soliciting for tenants. Ignoring a non-paying tenant will negate all of your hard work. And guess what? If you do nothing, I guarantee the tenant will do nothing also and just hope you don’t do anything to rectify the situation. DO NOT BE COMPLACENT.


At some point a landlord needs to decide on the best way to stay profitable. Especially in the current coronavirus world, it’s a much easier proposition to take some money as opposed to no money at all. Negotiating a payment plan is a good compromise between ignoring and evicting. But proceed with caution because the end game is to make sure that the tenant has the ability to catch up on what is owed in a reasonable time frame. And PLEASE make sure than any payment plan is backed up by a written addendum to the existing lease. 


Sadly, eviction is sometimes the only option remaining. Remember, you are in the business off renting for profit and a delinquent tenant can prevent that from happening, month after month, if you are unable to reach another compromise. Be forewarned though – evictions are often difficult, especially in states like Maryland where the laws most definitely tilt in favor of the tenant. If you go the eviction route, be prepared to weather the storm for a few months and make sure you have plenty of supporting evidence so that the courts have no choice but to rule in your favor. In this situation, the name of the game is closing the gap as quickly as possible between when the tenant is given notice to when they legally have to vacate the premises.  


Sometimes it’s just better to cash out and sell your rental property. If none of the aforementioned solutions are working, it’s often best to determine an acceptable price, take the money and move on to the next project. Problem tenants, excessive repairs, property management company fees and sleepless nights worrying about your property sometimes just aren’t worth the hassle.

Samantha sold her Baltimore house for cash

At Brad Buys Houses / We Buy MD Homes, we buy rental properties from landlords like you all of the time. We buy with cash, we close quickly and we pay all of the costs and fees at settlement. Most importantly, we solve your problem. If you are a tired landlord or just want to cash out of an investment property, please fill out the form at or call us at (240) 424-0423

6 Signs it Might be Time to Sell Your House

You are Out of Room for Your Stuff!

Are you feeling cramped? Do you have more family members than when you first moved into your home? Is COVID forcing you to work from home, so you don’t have room for a home office? Maybe you want a bigger yard or more storage space. Whatever the reason, often times homeowners simply outgrow their house and need a bigger one.

You are Now an Empty Nester

Time to downsize! Now that the kids have gone on to college or starting families of their own, you simply have too much space. A smaller house, townhouse or condo will be less maintenance for you, result in lower utility bills and save you big money on property taxes. As you get older, fixing broken appliances or HVAC systems is not something you want to deal with, so it may be time to consider selling a lot of the things cluttering your home and move to a smaller, more manageable house.

The Community is Changing

It’s quite possible that your community was much smaller and quieter when you moved her many years ago. When you moved in, it was a quiet neighborhood with only a few families. Fast forward several years and now there are major roads running through the neighborhood, a Starbuck’s on every corner, an HOA forcing you to adhere to their guidelines and even another school down the street. It’s no so quiet any more. Look, development isn’t a bad thing, but it may not be what you wanted when you originally choose to live in this neighborhood.

neighborhood street with rowhouses

It’s too Hot….or it’s too Cold!

Are you constantly complaining about the weather? That’s a good sign you may be ready for a change of scenery. Heat, humidity, rain, snow, whatever the weather is in your area you are tired of it. There’s no reason to live in a place where you are unhappy. Why not move somewhere that has the climate you desire all year long.

You Don’t Want to Pay Capital Gains

Home prices are on the rise in Maryland. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you live in – Catonsville, Dundalk, Glen Burnie, Laurel, Pikesville, Reisterstown, Westminster, etc. If you have lived in your home for more than two years, you can collect up to $250,000 tax free from capital gains. The number goes as high as $500,000 if the house is co-owned. Why not take advantage of that tax free money now?

Commuting is Getting in the Way of Family Time

Do you spend an hour in your car or on public transportation each weekday, commuting to and from the office? It may be necessary, but that’s up to 10 hours a week that you don’t have to spend with your family. Quality time with your spouse or kids is critical to mental health. If commuting is taking over your precious time, it may be an opportunity to consider moving to a home closer to your occupation.

If you need to sell your house for any reason at all, please fill out the form on my Web Site or call me at (240) 424-0423. If I can’t buy your Maryland house, I will find a solution for you.

Why You Should Sell Your House to a Local Home Buyer

WE BUY HOUSES FOR CASH! Yes, that’s right, we all buy houses. You see the signs all over Baltimore, Annapolis, Essex and Rosedale. “We Buy Houses Fast” or “Sell Your House in 30 Days”. Some are legitimate for sure, but some are not. And I can assure you of one thing: you will NEVER see one of those signs with my name or number on it. It’s low class, doesn’t convey trustworthiness and it’s just not my style. Furthermore, I am willing to bet many of those guys – even with local phone numbers – aren’t local at all.

Well, I am local. And I am not in the business of low-balling or wasting anyone’s time.

I jumped into real estate investing in 2016 for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s profitable. Let’s be honest, investors are in the business of making money. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what makes this country great. We have the ability to manufacture our own success and there is nothing stopping us other than our perceived limitations. I am no different from any business person in that respect.

But I also made a commitment to invest in Maryland because it’s my home. I am born and raised in Baltimore (Mt. Washington area), and have lived in Montgomery County since 2001. Both of my parents – an attorney and a caterer – still run their business in Maryland as well. My father has practiced law in Maryland for more than 50 years! Most importantly, my daughter has grown up in Maryland.

I once even did a five year stint at The Rouse Company in Columbia, best known for building Columbia, Maryland plus Harborplace, Faneuil Hall, South Street Seaport and several other notable properties. Columbia has been the prototype for master planned communities across the United States, since the 1960s. My parents even bought their first house in Mt. Washington with money they made investing in the company’s stock. I was there when the company was sold in 2004 and it was sad to see a Maryland institution, since 1956, getting sold off to a Chicago based company. We still have a reunion every year, on the anniversary of the Rouse Company sale, at a restaurant in Ellicott City.

I know Baltimore and I know Maryland. I want to do business with Maryland homeowners. There’s a lot of out of state, and even foreign, investors looking to buy your house for pennies on the dollar. Why? Because they think they can come to Frederick or Glen Burnie or Pikesville or Dundalk and take advantage of your situation. I don’t operate like that and I also know you are far too savvy to fall for fast talking investors.

That said, my process for making offers is in the How it Works section of my web site, in plain English and with no hidden tricks. I defy you to find another investor in the Baltimore-Washington area who is walking you step by step through the cash offer process right from the start. I don’t make offers with emotion (yours or mine), I make cash offers based strictly on real numbers.

I have said this many times: I don’t just buy houses, I solve problems – inherited homes, relocation, tax liens, divorce, tired landlords, expensive repairs, retirement – there’s a laundry list of reasons that someone may need to sell their home in Maryland quickly and without a realtor.

I have a track record of helping homeowners (for example, take a look at this clip from WBBF-TV from 2014) and I will continue to offer the same assistance and value that I have for more than a decade.

If you still have questions about me or my business, please take a moment to peruse the Brad Buys Houses website or find me on Facebook. You will see that I am not an anonymous “We Buy Houses” guy, with a sign on the corner of North Avenue and St. Paul Street. I’m a real investor, I’m local and I want to solve problems for Maryland homeowners.

Save Money by Selling Your Home FSBO

Are you ready to sell your house, but don’t want to pay commissions, fees and all of the other costs associated with using a real estate agent? Instead of listing your home perhaps you should consider For Sale By Owner or FSBO. Don’t get me wrong, I work with real estate agents all of the time, but sometimes you need to sell you house fast for various reasons – expensive repairs, inherited property, relocation, divorce, tax liens, code violations – reasons that make selling with a real estate agent challenging.

Below I’ve listed several advantages for going the FSBO route because sometimes selling your Maryland house directly is simply the best option that puts the most cash in your pocket.

we buy houses in as is condition

No Repairs & No Renovations Needed
To list your home with a realtor and get top dollar for your house, you often need to spend major dollars on repairs – kitchen renovations, new flooring, HVAC upgrades, new roof, new windows, even new electrical and plumbing. This adds up to big homeowner cost just to get your house to the level often required by a realtor. Plus, you will spend additional money on inspections and appraisals – thousands of dollars. And let’s face it, in 2021 a kitchen that hasn’t been upgraded since 1979 isn’t going to attract many traditional home buyers. Neither is shag carpeting in the living room.

No Cleaning Required
Cluttered homes and hoarder homes require extensive cleaning to sell for the best possible price. Why not sell direct to a cash buyer, pack what you need and forget the expensive de-cluttering. A real estate agent will want all surfaces and furniture free from debris to show your property whereas a cash buyer won’t care.  And let’s not forget about the costs associated with cleaning and/or packing stuff you don’t want to keep anyway.

cluttered kitchen with trash and debris all over the room

No Closing Costs or Realtor Fees
It is easy to save money when you sell your house directly to a cash buyer in Maryland. Taking this approach will eliminate most of the fees associated with traditional closings. Most cash buyers will cover your closing costs at settlement, plus eliminating the real estate agent from the equation will also mean no realtor fees, sometimes as high of 6% of purchase price. Plus, there will be no appraisal or inspection fees that you need to be responsible for paying. If you want to see the process for selling direct to a legitimate cash home buyer, just check CLICK HERE

Save on Marketing
The bottom line is that you can’t sell your home without marketing it to potential buyers. But selling the traditional way will require time, money, and effort. You will need perfect pictures, you need to keep it clean at all times as strangers walk through and you will likely need to hire a real estate agent. Selling FSBO eliminates the need for expensive and time consuming marketing.  

Monthly Costs Eliminated
There are myriad monthly costs associated with owning a home and they get compounded if you are already moved out and handling things from a distance. These costs can run into the thousands of dollars. What are these expenses? Well, taxes, mortgage, insurance, utilities, and maintenance are the big ones. Plus it’s possible you are in a tax line situation or already behind on mortgage payments. If you are in any of these situations, an aging house is sucking your finances, dry. The easy solution is to cut those expenses ASAP and sell directly to a cash buyer, who will offer you fair as-is value for your home.

If you are having trouble selling your house in Maryland for any reason and are looking to save on big on any of the expenses listed above, I highly recommend selling FSBO to a legitimate cash home buyer. In fact, give me a call at (240) 424-0423 or visit if you want me to give you an accurate, fair no obligation offer on your house. If I can’t make a reasonable offer, I will find a solution for you.

Zillow Isn’t the Gospel

So…you are ready to sell your home now, huh? If you are like millions of homeowners, you are going to Zillow immediately to see what your house is worth.

Even though Zillow claims its “Zestimate” is usually within 10 percent of the selling price of the home, don’t believe everything you see on the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, Zillow is an excellent resource. I use it all the time. But it isn’t the gospel. Why? Because even though Zillow gets a substantial amount of public data, it also allows for user submitted data. And let’s face it, if you are adding information about your home, you are always looking for the best angle. If a homeowner decides to update or change the square footage, number of bedrooms or features, it will change the value. Likewise, public data isn’t always perfect either.

In short, Zillow gives you a range based on its best data.

What’s the best way to get the most accurate value for your home? Well, that’s easy. Obviously, an appraisal is the best way. But that will cost you money, usually around $500 for a thorough appraisal. The other way is to know the “comps”, or comparable prices, of similar homes sold within a certain time period. I generally look at similar homes sold in the past 6-12 months within a mile of the subject property.

The key word here is “similar”. Not every property in the neighborhood is a good comp. At least not for buyers or real estate agents.

You need to take into consideration several factors to determine if a house is actually comparable to your property, such as:

  • Square footage (actual living space – plus it needs to be within 300-400 square feet)
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Year built (a house built in 1910 is not a comp for one built in 2010)
  • Style of house (rancher, colonial, split level, etc.)


You need to know the condition of the property being compared.

  • Is it newly renovated?
  • Does it need major repairs?
  • Is there a lead paint issue?
  • Is the foundation sound?
  • Is there mold or termites?

All comps are not created equal. It’s that simple.

So, what’s the best advice if you are using Zillow to determine what your house in worth? Use Zillow, Trulia, Redfin or as a baseline, but ultimately seek out a professional opinion. If you have a Maryland house to sell for any reason, I have a simple form that you can fill out right HERE to get a no obligation offer. And if you want to see my methodology for how I assess home values and make offer, please click HERE