Now we do-it-yourselfers have another tool in the real estate arsenal: www.zillow.com.
It's a new site launched by the former Microsoft exec & Expedia founder. You can enter an address and get appraisals for every home in the neighborhood--at no charge, and without giving your contact information to an agent.
The results for my neighborhood showed an accurate satellite image and current tax appraisal values for each home. My neighborhood has many original homeowners, so the overall values are deceptively low. Only the homes sold in the last two years had appraisals close to what today's market would bring.
I would not substitute Zillow for the seasoned advice of a real estate pro; there are many subtleties to pricing a home that a search engine cannot compute. Still, it's nice to have more information literally at our fingertips!