Selling your home? Make sure
the price is right -- Page 2
spend enough time studying how to price their home," says Ilyce R. Glink,
author of "50
Simple Steps You Can Take to Sell Your Home Faster and for More Money in Any Market."
She recommends getting a comparative market analysis from three different agents.
Chances are they'll all be different, but they should all fall within a range.
Try to identify the real estate agents who do the most business in your neighborhood.
They will be most familiar with details of other houses in the area that have
been marketed successfully or unsuccessfully and will be acutely aware of what
impact those details had on selling price. Whatever you do, don't get a comparative
market analysis from your uncle's golf buddy who sells real estate across town.
You can try to get information from the local government
different states and counties have differing degrees of openness.
An online search for your local property appraiser or tax collector
may give you the ability to search by address, property owner or
You may also find excellent reports available from
online services such as HomePrice
which, for a fee, will provide you with detailed property information,
and a value range for the property based on comparables in the area.
A free report on comparable sales in your area is available from
A relatively new Web site called Zillow.com
lets you get estimates of home values by typing addresses into a
box. Another possibility: Try an Internet search for sites specific
to your geographic area. Homekeys
for example, provide estimates of home values in the Miami-Palm
Beach and Seattle, Wash., metro areas.
A comparative market analysis, however, is not the be-all
and end-all in determining price.
It can be incomplete or too
dated to reflect current market conditions and, of course, no two houses are ever
exactly the same. Also, they don't take into account subjective factors like curb
appeal, an especially eye-pleasing view, or proximity to a bus stop, which explains
why some experts recommend getting a professional appraisal as well as a comparative
"Real estate agents are not professional
real estate appraisers," says Supple. "Some will inflate the value of
your home just to get the listing."
He recommends springing
for a professional appraisal even before you set your asking price, especially
if you're going to sell your house on your own without going through a broker.
But an appraiser's report could set you back $300 or more,
so if you don't want to spend that much you can do some, but not all, of what
an appraiser would do by visiting your county courthouse or property appraiser's
office and looking up the information yourself. Many county property appraisers
or tax collectors now have online search tools you can use to find the information
without leaving home.
But it's a good investment for any home
seller. For one thing, a professional appraisal done by a state-certified property
appraiser will be required if your eventual buyer intends to finance the purchase
with a mortgage. Having your own appraisal will give you an accurate idea of the
maximum amount lenders will be willing to finance for the buyer.
appraiser will first inspect your property from foundation to attic and note its
features, including quality of construction and amenities. Then the appraiser
will perform a market analysis that will compare your property to similar properties
that have sold recently in your area. The appraiser may even call real estate
agents in your area to determine market conditions in your neighborhood.
that's all done, the appraiser will write up a report and you will know the appraised
value. That is not the same as the market value, which Supple says "is the
highest price that a property will bring in an open and competitive market."
It has nothing to do with how much money you may need to buy
your next house, or how much money you want in order to recoup what you spent
fixing up the place.
"In a seller's market, a good rule
of thumb is to add 10 to 15 percent on to the appraised value," says Supple.
"In a buyer's market, add 2 to 3 percent."