Buying or Selling a Home/fair market value

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Question
Hello Lisa,
What's the best and most accurate way to determine the fair market value for your house in specific years? Which websites should I use to help me? I've searched for MLS listings for homes similar to mine, and I see there's a wide range in both asking and selling prices. Realtors have valued my property at various prices. Thank you in advance for your reply.

Answer
What we do is look at the features and amenities that a person has in their house, then search within approximately 1 mile, going back 90 days to 180 days comparing homes that have sold and what concessions if any have been given.  Then we look at the "active" competition.  Typically we try to look for homes that are within 5 years of age on either end, up to 5 years older or newer. When the buyer's appraiser comes in to value your house, they will be looking primarily at sold homes, not actives because some homes are listed too high and end up being reduced before they get an offer.  In our area, condition really makes a big difference as far as sales prices go. You'll usually have a range of pricing and the nicest ones, typically those that are super clean, freshly painted with new carpet and nicely staged, are going to be the ones that sell in the higher range.  Pricing is more of an art than a science and there is a lot of gray area and a lot of factors that can influence pricing.  Appraisers look at primarily numbers, however if you get a house pre-appraised and the appraiser is looking more at numbers rather than buyer appeal, you could leave money on the table. If I were not a Realtor, I would choose one that had a good amount of experience and has sold a good number of homes recently and pick their brain as far as why they are suggesting a certain list price. A home that backs to a golf course will be more valuable than one that backs to a highway where you can hear road noise even if the two homes are identical.  Granite counters, fresh paint, new carpet and brand new stainless appliances will make a huge price difference in most of my market area and your return will be greater than your up front cost outlay in most cases. The Realtor should be able to justify their suggested asking price based on the comparable homes that they are choosing and explain to you their reasoning.  It can be very difficult for the average person to value any home, especially their own because when you live in a house, you tend to have sentimental value and don't see it as a potential buyer would.  Does that make sense?  I know Realtors who will hire another Realtor to help them sell for that reason.  It's easier to be objective when it's not your house.  There will be a range in the sales price and having an objective Realtor can help you determine whether your house will be at the lower end or higher end and they may suggest staging, cleaning, or painting to get that sales price closer to the higher end.  I hope that helps as you are making your plans. It's not a simple answer!

Buying or Selling a Home

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Lisa Webber

Expertise

With over 10 years full-time experience as a Realtor in the Central to Southern Maryland area, I can answer questions pertaining to buyers and sellers of residential property in the state of Maryland. I also enjoy sharing information about real estate in general when I can. I work with first-time buyers, real estate investors, luxury home buyers and move-up buyers. I represent buyers when they are looking for new construction as well. I can help with relocation questions as I help people from all over the country move to Maryland. I also work with military families, helping them move to the Ft. Meade area. With many years of experience helping clients purchase distressed properties like foreclosures and short sales, I am well-suited to look for and point out any potential problems that you might face. I can help with finding financing through many local experts as well. I continually post real estate related information on our Facebook page as well as on our website, www.webberteam.com.

Experience

I've worked with many buyers and sellers of residential property throughout the state of Maryland as well as investors who buy and sell residential and commercial properties.

Education/Credentials
I primarily have studied real estate, business, advertising, and marketing and study each of these subjects on a daily basis as they relate to my work. I read real estate books and subscribe to news services to keep current on real estate subjects and trends.

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