Are you considering putting your home on the market? Are you wondering what your home is worth and what it will sell for? The most common mistake people make when selling their home is setting the asking price too high. After you interview with a few Realtors and you find the best one in your neighborhood, how does that agent come up with the price of your home to sell? There’s a lot of experience involved in the process. You may love your home but your personal feelings towards it and even how much you paid for it when you bought it play no part in the value of it today.
Realtors base their price opinions on comparable sales (comps). They look at sales that have closed within the last three to six months in your neighborhood. When looking at the comps to help determine the price of your home they look at several factors. These include your home’s condition, age, square footage, location, and the number of bedrooms and baths. The sale date is also important since it will reflect the most recent changes in your market.
Typically, the most important home feature to concentrate on is the number of bedrooms and baths. This usually plays a bigger role in valuation than square footage. For example, two-bedroom homes in a neighborhood of predominately three-bedroom homes will almost always sell at a discount despite the number of square feet. The same is true for a home with one bath since a majority of buyers look for more than a single bath. If most homes in the neighborhood have a certain feature – like air conditioning – the absence of that feature will drop the price.
If you are not ready to call a Realtor, home appraisers are highly-trained, licensed professionals who can determine a very accurate value for your home. You can hire them to get them to come and inspect and measure your house, noting its condition, amenities, and any issues that might impact its marketability – zoning, “offbeat” floor plans, environmental hazards, renovations, deferred maintenance, lot characteristics, and more.
A home appraiser will spend time completely looking over the exterior of the home to ensure it is structurally sound. They will look for any signs of water damage or other problems, such as a chimney that is cracked or leaning away from the home (which could indicate structural damage) along with a lopsided porch or stairs leading up to the home.
The quality of the roof will also play an important role in your home’s sale value. Damaged roofs bring on infestation, leaking, and other problems, so the appraiser will assess the home’s roofing quality. The appraiser will also inspect the condition of the siding, garage, porch, deck, and any other exterior elements.
Real estate agents and appraisers will gather and examine similar information, both will look at the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for information on comps. Appraisers have access to public records, but the key difference lies not in the information they gather, but how they use it.
Real estate agents promise to represent their clients’ best interests. They want the listing of the home to be the best possible and will use gathered market information to this end.
Appraisers are paid outright – not on commission – and they do not have a vested interest in serving the client’s needs beyond providing a thoroughly completed estimate. In fact, they must clearly indicate that they are third-party professionals and not advocates for either buyers or sellers.