What’s Your Home Actually Worth? Discover What Buyers Will Pay in Today’s Market
Thursday Mar 07th, 2019
It’s easy to look up how much money you have in your savings account or the real-time value of your stock investments. But determining the dollar value of a home is trickier.
As a seller, knowing your home’s worth helps you price it correctly when you put it up for sale. If you price it too high, it may sit on the market. But price it too low and you may be losing out on a good chunk of money (nobody wants that!). For buyers, it’s important to know a home’s worth before you make an offer. You want your offer to be competitive, but you don’t want to overpay for the property.
Even if you’re not a buyer or seller right now, as a current homeowner you might just be curious about the value of your home. Keeping track of your home’s worth year over year helps you understand the trends in your market. So when you are ready to sell, you can take advantage of a good window of opportunity.
The good news is, as experienced local REALTORS® we understand the nuances of your particular neighbourhood and we can determine the true market value of your property … at no cost to you!
THE THREE TYPES OF HOME VALUES
When you start the process of buying or selling a home, you’ll frequently hear the words appraised value, assessed value, and true market value. It’s important to know the difference between each one so you can make better, informed decisions.
A professional appraiser is in charge of determining the appraised value of a home. These appraisals are typically required by a lender when a buyer is financing the property. And while the lender is the one requiring this information, the appraiser does not work for the lender. Your appraiser should be an objective, licensed professional who doesn’t have allegiance to the buyer, seller, or lender—no matter who is paying their fee.
The number the appraiser comes up with (the appraised value) assures the lender that the buyer is not overpaying for the property. For example, imagine a seller lists a home for $400,000. They reach a deal with the buyer to sell the home for $375,000. However, if an appraiser evaluates the property and determines that the appraised value is actually $325,000, then the lender will not lend for an amount higher than that appraised value of $325,000.
When figuring out this number, an appraiser will compare the property to similar homes in your neighbourhood, and they’ll evaluate factors such as location, square footage, appliances, upgrades, improvements, and the interior and exterior of the home.
The assessed value of a home is determined by the local municipal property assessor. This value matters when the town calculates property taxes each year. The lower your assessed value, the less property tax you’ll pay.
To come up with this value, your assessor will evaluate what comparable homes in the neighbourhood have sold for, the size of your home, age, overall condition, and any improvements or upgrades that have been made. However, most assessors don’t have full access to your home, so their information is limited.
Assessments are done annually to determine how much property tax you owe. Many local municipalities use a multiplier (typically between 60%-80%) to calculate the final assessed value. So, if the assessor determines that the value of the home is $300,000, but the town uses a 70% multiplier, the assessed value of the home would be $210,000 for tax purposes.
True Market Value
True market value is established by a real estate agent. It basically refers to the value that a buyer is willing to pay for the property. A good REALTOR is an expert in determining true market value because they have hands-on experience buying and selling properties. They understand the mindsets of buyers in your market and know what they’ll pay for a desirable house, townhouse, or condo.
As a seller, knowing your true market value is important because it helps you choose how much to list your property for. It can also help you decide if you want to make any improvements to your home before putting it on the market. An experienced sales representative or broker can help you figure out which updates and upgrades will have the biggest impact on your true market value.
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH ONLINE CALCULATORS?
When figuring out your home’s value, you might be tempted to see what popular real estate sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia have to say. When you use an online calculator to determine your home’s value on these sites, it is just an estimate. It’s not an actual appraisal or the “true market value.” These sites all have their own algorithms for coming up with their estimates. For example, Zillow comes up with their “Zestimates” by calculating “public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions.”
These online estimates can be a great starting point for opening up the conversation with your real estate agent about your home’s worth. But even Zillow recommends that you use a real estate agent for coming up with the actual market value of your home. The site says that once you get your “Zestimate,” you should still get “a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent.”
Having a REALTOR® involved in this process is essential because they understand the market better than a computer ever could. They’re showing property in your city every single day, and they know the particular preferences of buyers and sellers in the area. Young professionals, large families, empty nesters, and other groups are all looking for different things in a home. A local agent has most likely worked with all of them, so they understand what every segment in your market is specifically looking for.
HOW WE FIND YOUR HOME’S TRUE MARKET VALUE
So, how do we determine true market value? We’ll start by doing a comparative market analysis (CMA). This means that we’ll compare your home’s features to similar properties in your area. For the CMA, we look at the below factors to influence our assessment of your home’s worth:
- Neighbourhood sales - We will look at similar, recently sold homes in your neighbourhood to see what they sold for and what they have in common with your house.
- The exterior - What does your home look like from the outside? We will factor in curb appeal, the style of the house, the front and backyard, and anything else that impacts how the house looks to everyone walking and driving by.
- The interior - This is everything inside the walls of the house. Square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, appliances, and more all influence the overall market value.
- Age of the home - Whether you have a newer or older home affects it’s overall value.
- Style of the home - The style of your home is important because buyers in different markets have different tastes. If buyers’ preference is for bungalows in the area and you have one, then your home may sell for a premium (aka more money!).
- Market trends - Because we have so much experience in the Georgina market, we have our fingers on the pulse of the area trends and know what buyers are willing to pay for a property like yours.
- Location, location, location - This one’s probably the most obvious. If your home is located on the water, or in a desirable neighbourhood it will be worth more.
A computer algorithm simply can’t take all of these factors into account when calculating the value of your home. The reality is, nothing beats the accuracy of a real estate agent or professional appraiser when it comes to determining a home’s true market value.
WE ARE HERE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
Determining a home’s true market value is our forte. If you’re a homeowner, we will help you find your home’s market value so you can list it at the right price.
For buyers, we will help you determine the value so you can come up with a fair offer. We can also set up a personalized home search on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so you’ll receive emails of listings that meet your criteria. This will help you see what’s out there in the area and how properties are being priced.
Get a Complimentary Report With Your Home’s True Market Value
Curious about your home’s true market value? Call us to request a free, no-obligation Comparative Market Analysis to find out exactly how much your home is worth!
Wayne Winch & Brenda Brouwer
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc., Brokerage