4 Ways to Answer: How Much is My House Worth?

Posted by Chris on February 15, 2016

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So you’re thinking about selling your home (maybe refinancing) and you want to find out how much your home is worth…where do you start? First, note that any valuation of your home is simply an estimate. Even a professional appraisal is a mere opinion, although an educated one at that, of what your property may sell for if it was listed on the market.

Your property’s value depends on a number of factors - some that are out of your control, like the market, while things like renovations and the season in which you choose to list/sell your home.  

That said, here are a few ways to find out the approximate value of your home:

Option 1: Look at Comparable Properties

A great start to finding out a ballpark of your home’s worth is to research comparable properties whether online or in county records. Comparable homes are one of the best tools you can use to determine your home’s value. They contrast the criteria from recently sold properties in your neighborhood, such as age of the home, sale price, size and square footage. Agents use comps to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis for clients.

Check out this Investopedia article to learn more about how a Comparative Market Analysis works.

Zillow has a great tool that identifies nearby sales that are similar to your home and uses that information to calculate the Zestimate for your home. This tool finds homes similar to yours that are nearby or in your neighborhood and makes adjustments to determine an estimate for your home’s worth.

For example, a home similar to yours just sold, but it has one more bedroom, therefore the home would probably have a higher value – Zillow adjusts for this in computing your home’s value and implements it into the Zestimate. Find out your home’s Zestimate here.

Remember, that this may not be the most effective way to value your home, because your opinion of the condition of your home may not be the same as an appraiser. This is merely to gain a ballpark perspective of what your home may be worth.

Option 2: Hire an Appraiser

Hiring an appraiser to value your home is one of the most accurate methods in determining your home’s value. An appraiser will look at five key aspects of your home: the structure, the interior, the upgrades, amenities, and front and back yards.

Before having an appraiser come out, take a look at our blog, “6 Inexpensive Home Improvement Ideas To Do Before an Appraisal.” If you’re on a budget, check out our blog, “Cheap Home Improvement Ideas That Increase the Value of Your Home.”

An appraiser will investigate the structure of your home by looking at the foundation, siding and roofing to determine the quality and condition of each. They will also look for leaks, cracks, damage, or defects around the exterior of your home. Inside your home, the appraiser will look at things such as the material and quality of the walls, inside roof, flooring and its condition, as well as the quality of the windows and the doors. They will also note appliances, plumbing and light fixtures.

Your home’s amenities will have a great impact on the value of your home. The appraiser will look at your air conditioning, baseboard heating, smoke detectors, garage, etc. Your home will likely value less if you don’t have these features. Other features they will look for are fireplaces, security systems, an in-ground pool and gazebo.

Upgrades such as remodeling, new paint, new flooring, updated kitchens and bathrooms will also increase the value of your home. Make sure to note these things to the appraiser.

The size of your front and back yards are what will truly affect your home’s appraisal – the larger your lot, the higher your appraisal will be. The appraisal will also look for permanent fixtures and landscaping. Remember, your front yard is the first thing your appraiser will see. Want to avoid a low home appraisal? Check out these tips from Bank Rate.

For tips on how to boost your home’s value, check out our recent blog as well!

Option 3: Look at Your Most Recent Property Tax Bill

Your most recent property tax bill will contain a tax-assessed value for your property. Then, look for an assessment rate, in most states it will be between 80-90 percent. Property taxes are a percentage of your property’s tax assessed value and the property’s tax assessed value is a percentage of its fair market value. With these two numbers you can calculate the fair market value.

For example:

Let’s say your property’s tax assessed value is $80,000. If your assessment rate is 80 percent, then your home’s fair market value is $100,000 because $80,000 is 80 percent of $100,000.

To learn more, check out SFGATE’s article, “How to Calculate the Fair Market Value of a Home.”

Option 4: Online Home Value Estimators

On top of researching comparable homes in your neighborhood and using that to compare what the value of your home may be with tools like Zestimate, you can also use online home value estimators to determine what your home’s value may be. Many of these tools can be used for free and will scan data from various sources including public and private databases. These tools will ask you various questions about your home, such as the square footage, construction date, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

After you submit this information, it will give you an estimated fair market value of your home and may also list other properties that are currently on the market in your area and list their asking price. Redfin offers a great home valuation tool you can use, although there are a multitude of different sites that offer a way to valuate your home. Check out USA Today’s list of the top home valuation sites for more.

If you are ready to have your home appraised, Lenda can help you get the money you need to complete upgrades to improve the value of your home. You can get a great rate on cash out refinance and complete the entire process online. Enjoy low rates, low fees and the fastest close in the industry by going with Lenda.

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