If you’re considering selling your home, you’ve probably wondered how much it’s worth. Here is some basic advice on how to find the fair market value of your home.
Understanding Real Estate Values
Real estate values are constantly changing. The price that you paid for your home when you purchased it has little to do with the value of your home today. The current condition of your home and any remodeling that you’ve done, the state of the market, mortgage rates, and several other factors mean that your home is likely not worth the same amount of money as it was when you bought it.
Factors that Influence Home Value
Home values are influenced by several factors, including:
- Home attributes (i.e. number of bedrooms and bathrooms)
- Size of home
- School district
- Updates or other desirable (or undesirable) features
- The current market conditions
During the valuation process, these factors are used to find similar homes that have sold recently, which are called ‘comps’ in the real estate industry. Adjustments are made to comp’s selling price based on the differences in the homes. For example, if the comp home was identical except for that it had one more bathroom, you would subtract the value of that bathroom from the selling price in order to get the fair market value of your home.
Where to Find Your Home’s Fair Market Value
There are several places that you can get an idea of your home value. However, it’s important to remember that the ‘value’ of your home and the actual price at which you can sell it in the current market and in its current condition aren’t exactly the same thing. Check multiple channels and see what they say, average them, and then keep in mind that that price still may not be quite accurate. Here are some places you may be able to find an estimated home value.
This isn’t the most accurate or up to date way to get a bead on your home value, but it’s a start. County appraisals are used to figure your property taxes and they can give you a very general idea of your home’s worth. Keep in mind that these appraisals are often higher than your actual expected selling price, which totally makes sense; the more your home is worth, the more you’re obligated to pay in taxes. More taxes are a good thing for the county.
Zillow Real Estate
Zillow is a real estate site where you can find your home’s value. They call their estimated home value a “Zestimate”. They use their own secret formula based on information on public record and data submitted by users to take a stab at how much your home is worth. While Zillow doesn’t offer an appraisal-quality estimate, it is a fast, free, and fairly accurate tool to find out how much your house is worth.
Redfin Real Estate
The Redfin site offers a tool similar to Zillow’s Zestimate. They look at comparable home sales in the area recently, the home’s particulars and other factors to generate what they call the most accurate home value estimator online. It has the same perks as Zillow in that it’s fast and free.
If All Else Fails, Ask a Pro
A real estate agent is likely the most accurate option you have for finding out how much your house is worth without hiring an appraiser. They’ll take into account several factors including the recent selling price of comparable homes, pricing trends in the neighborhood, and how current mortgage rates are affecting selling prices.
If you’re dead-set on a really accurate estimate of your home’s value, you can pay an appraiser to come to take a look at the house, gather comps, and put together a formal estimate of your home’s value. However, this is mostly unnecessary in most cases. A home buyer in a traditional sale will hire their own appraiser in most cases.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
When it comes to selling prices, you can expect that potential buyers who can offer you perks like cash or as-is offers expect the price to reflect the generosity shown in their offers. You should also remember that an appraiser’s valuation is great, but the real value of your home lies in how much someone will pay for it.