Home prices have risen considerably over the last couple of years, leaving many homeowners to wonder if it’s time to take advantage of the increase in value to tap into the newly built equity or sell.
As you consider the options, you’ll probably want to start by asking yourself, “What is my home worth?” While you could hire an appraiser, there are ways to estimate the value on your own.
As a Real Estate Agent for a Comparative Market Analysis
A Comparative Market Analysis, or CMA, is an in-depth report on the current value of a specific home. It can be prepared by a realtor who will analyze the selling prices of homes in the neighborhood or community you live in that are similar to yours. Most realtors are willing to provide this for no or minimal cost, but they usually do so with the hopes of being hired as your selling agent.
These reports typically look at sold, inactive, active, and pending listings to obtain the most accurate information. Simply reviewing active listings, AKA, your potential competition, isn’t necessarily indicative of market value, as sellers can list their property at the price they hope to get, but it may not be realistic.
Use Online Tools
If you want a quick estimation of your home’s value without requesting a CMA from an agent. A home value estimator can be a good starting point. However, keep in mind that these calculators are based on an algorithm that typically takes into account the square footage, number of bedrooms, location, and the local market activity.
There are other factors that play a role in the value of your home that an online estimator can’t consider such as its condition, curb appeal, recent upgrades, and external factors like noisy neighbors or an eyesore across the street.
You can also do a Google search of your address. There is a lot of information on public record, such as how much you paid for your home, the year it was built, square footage, and the estimated market value. That figure is based on the sales of homes in your area, or one that is similar, as well as local tax assessments and whether the properties have been increasing or decreasing in value.
The County or Municipal Auditor
You can get an idea of your home’s value from a tax perspective via your county or municipal auditor. Auditors will periodically assess the value of residential properties for tax purposes, and that information can be found online.
By visiting the website for the auditor’s office in your area, you can easily look up the assessed value of your home to compare the figures with other homes for sale or see if yours has appreciated. Remember that this information may not reflect some of the factors that affect the sales prices, like the competitiveness of the local market or the time of year.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this estimate is for the taxable value of your property and in some localities, it can be far off market values. It’s best to use this information combined with others, including an online tool like a home value estimator and performing a Google search for the estimated value.