Most homeowners have an idea of what their home is worth and are shocked and disappointed when it turns out their actual home value is quite a bit lower than expected. When you’re getting ready to sell your home, it’s time to prepare yourself with research and professional opinions instead of banking on what you think your home is worth.
You need to know what your home is worth because that knowledge can help you decide when to sell your home and what your listing price should be. You’ll also be aware if you should make some repairs and updates before selling.
Your home is likely your biggest financial asset, so it’s important to make informed decisions listing your home to sell. With this knowledge, even if you’re not selling your home yet, you can determine what kind of home you should buy in the future, if you can refinance, and more.
Start by using free online tools
You can use online estimate calculators to get an idea of what your home is worth. They’ll determine your home’s worth by the data you put in about your home’s features, square footage, etc, and calculate it with information from similar listings in your area. Remember to be aware that these estimate calculators are typically marketing tools to get you onto a company’s email list. You can use the calculators and then unsubscribe from their emails.
Be conscious of how many of these online calculators you use, there’s probably no need to use more than 2 or 3 at the most. They are meant as a starting point to get an idea of worth and they don’t replace an actual comparable market analysis from your Realtor or a home appraisal from a licensed appraiser.
If you do decide to get an appraisal before selling your home (preferably this depends on your Realtor’s advice if you should or need to do so), see our list of how to prepare for the appraisal process.
Check out how much similar properties have sold for in your area recently
The other type of online tool that anyone who is not a Realtor has access to is MLS (Multiple Listing Service) platforms that you can use to view homes for sale that are similar to yours. Check these to get an idea of what your home is worth in your area. Gather the sales or listing prices for at least three homes that are similar to yours and find the average of the three.
Keep in mind that this will yield a general idea and certain factors like square footage, number of bedrooms, curb appeal, nearby crime rate, school district ratings, etc, can greatly affect a professional’s estimation of the property.
Then the next step is to ask your Realtor to utilize their professional resources and contacts to take your general estimates and zero in on a more accurate estimate.
Get an idea of the current property market
The pandemic has created a sellers market, which has gained a lot of attention in the news lately. But if your goal is to sell your home and not to become a real estate expert, no one’s expecting you to become an expert on property market trends.
Your Realtor is your greatest asset to utilise as they can explain to you in detail about the market and how it applies to pricing and selling of your home. While you can do research and read every current analysis online, local Realtors are working every day in the field and seeing it firsthand in your area and can determine how to price your home the most strategically for you in your specific area.
It’s a great idea to research a little and get familiar with the topic but feel free to rely on an expert to help you better understand how it affects your home sale.
Check the previous sale price of your property
Have you checked your past paperwork of what you paid for your home? Although your home’s value can change over time for different reasons, it is not a bad place to start when determining the value of your home.
Hopefully your home’s worth will appreciate, or gain market value over the time that you’ve owned it, but many factors can go into whether its worth goes up or down. Some factors affecting your home’s value to be aware of are economic changes, current mortgage interest rates, the job market, and any foreclosed homes nearby.
Although you can’t control those factors, things you can control that can raise your listing price are things like how attractive the outside of the property is, keeping up with necessary repairs, newer kitchen appliances and other home upgrades. See What to Renovate for the Best Return on Investment for more suggestions on what will help your home sell for a higher price.
For a more in-depth look at what might be decreasing your home’s value, see this list for what they are and what to do about it.
Look at other similar homes in your area
Drive around your neighborhood and similar neighborhoods to yours to see what is for sale, and then look online at the MLS available to you.
While using websites is useful, keep in mind that when you’re ready to take action on selling your home, or getting ready to sell your home, working one on one with a seasoned Realtor is the way to go. A great Realtor will thoroughly understand market trends and your home value and explain it to you to help you understand.
When you’re ready you can ask your Realtor for a comparative market analysis, or CMA. A CMA is a Realtor’s evaluation of your home and the market to provide an estimate of the value of your home.
How to accurately find out how much your home is worth
If you’re looking to sell your home, it’s always a good idea to have a good Realtor by your side to find the right buyer, sell your home at a higher price, and negotiate contracts on your behalf.
While state safety guidelines are still required, check out the Coronavirus Real Estate Guide on how your Realtor and potential home buyers can view your property safely. After that, discuss how the process will work with your Realtor, as guidelines can always change.
Navigating the home selling process can be a daunting task. The idea of selling your home can feel intimidating and uncertain amidst a pandemic. Just know that you can still have a successful home selling experience when you have a good Realtor in your corner.
If you’re in the Sacramento, California area, contact us to get a free home estimate from one of our seasoned Realtors at Quantum Real Estate and let’s get started.
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