That’s not always an easy question. Housing values vary based on several factors – the economy, the general condition of your home, the desirability of your location, and housing supply vs. demand.
If you’re like most people in this Google age, you gather housing data on the Internet. There is a lot of great information available, but be cautious with automated online valuation tools such as Zillow’s Zestimate. They’re often inaccurate because they work on algorithms that can’t factor in the condition of your home or other market influences that can increase or lower your value. I’ve seen estimates off by tens of thousands of dollars in my own neighborhood. This is not only frustrating to the homeowner who has tried to do their research before listing their home, but to Realtors too. We don’t want to be the one to tell you your home (where you invested your money and made memories) isn’t worth what you saw online. We know that look on your face means you think we are trying to beat down your list price for a quick sale. But a good Realtor knows how important correctly pricing your home is to getting you the best offer. It’s actually the most important factor. Price too high and buyers often won’t even tour your home. It will sit on the market. The longer it sits on the market, the more buyers start to think there’s something wrong with it or that you’re desperate and will take a low-ball offer. Statistics show that houses listed in line with current market values end up selling faster and for more money than those that are listed too high. Of course if you list too low you leave money on the table and no homeowner wants that.
Avoid pricing mistakes by talking to a Realtor who is familiar with your market area. They should come to your home to evaluate its condition and features, explain current market trends, and discuss recent comparable sales and active listings. Recent sales are a stronger indicator of value than active listings because they represent real sale prices – not projected sale prices.
Remember, there are many factors that affect your local real estate market that can’t be added into an automated valuation tool so be cautious of what you see online. Many Realtors will do a free market analysis of your home so don’t be afraid to ask.
Jacque Veney, Realtor