How to Estimate the Price of your House

If you’re thinking of selling your home, then you’ve probably wondered how much can I sell my home for. One of the challenges of determining your home’s value is that “value” is subjective; one buyer may be willing to pay more than another. So how do you find that sweet spot, meaning a listing price that will attract buyers and help you reach your goals?

Start with online evaluation tools

Online home value calculators use the information you provide about your home, along with information gleaned from public records, to calculate an estimated value of the property. They’re a simple and convenient way to get a ballpark idea of what your home might be worth.
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Work with a realtor

Realtors have their own techniques for determining a home’s value, and it can be helpful to get a second opinion to go along with the estimates from an online valuation tool. The process many Realtors use to estimate a home’s value is called a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).

Hire a professional appraiser

When someone’s buying a home, the bank requires them to get an appraisal at some point before the underwriting of the loan can be completed. As the seller, you’re not required to get an appraisal but it may be a good idea if you don’t want there to be any second-guessing about your home’s value when you’re ready to list.
It’s the appraiser’s job to provide an impartial, thoroughly researched estimate of a home’s value. They do that by visiting the property and reviewing recently sold or pending comparable sales.

Analyze your own comparable sales

You might not have access to the MLS, but you can still use some of the same factors to compare your house to similar ones selling in your area, including:

Structural components and features

  • Age and size
  • Sales history
  • Any upgrades or improvements
  • Overall condition of the home
  • Neighborhood and location
  • Listing price vs. actual sale price

You do, however, have to remember to account for differences between your home and comps that could affect value.

Market-Dependent Pricing

Suppose that the last three comparable sales in your neighborhood were $250,000. Your sales price might allow some wiggle room for negotiation in a buyer’s market, but you’ll want to be close enough to the last comparable sale to entice a buyer to tour your home. You might need to price your home at $249,900 and settle for $245,000 to sell in that type of market.

Conversely, you might want to add 10% more to the last comparable sale in a seller’s market. You can ask more than the last comparable sale, and you’ll likely get it if there’s little inventory and there are many buyers. That $250,000 home might sell for $265,000 or more.

You might want to initially set your price at the last comparable sale in a balanced or neutral market, and then adjust it for the market trend. Pricing at $254,500 would make sense if the last sale closed three months ago, but the median price has edged upward of 1% per month since then.

Pricing your home correctly can be the single most important factor when you’re selling your house. You don’t want to overprice the property, because you’ll lose the freshness of the home’s appeal after the first two to three weeks of showings.

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