Whether you’re seeking to purchase a home for your primary residence or as an investment, knowing how you can research property values will help you out. Of course, if you’re selling a home, you can simply pay to have an appraiser come out and appraise it. He or she will value the home based on the condition, location, other applicable features, and how much other homes in the area have sold for.
What are comps?
Appraisers not only look at the home that is being sold for property value, but also other homes in the neighborhood that have been sold. These are known as comparable sales, or “comps”. Typically, an appraiser will look at three comps that have sold or the sale is pending.
Can you determine house value?
If you’re looking to purchase a home, you can use comps to determine the house value and come up with a very accurate number – a number close to what an appraiser will get. You can do this by learning as much as you can about the house. There are online sites where you can get a lot of information about the home, including the value of the last appraisal done. In fact, most municipalities have an office or online portal where you can give the property address and owners’ name and get the latest appraisal information.
Creating your own comps
If you’re researching real estate property values, here’s what you can do. Go and look at the property and determine what kind of condition it’s in. What kind of amenities does it have? What is the square footage? How old is it? How big is the lot? What kind of neighborhood is it in? Are the local schools good? How close is the nearest park? Shopping center?
There are features that will make one property worth more than another, such as the number of bedrooms, whether there is a garage or not, size of frontage, number of amenities, updated kitchen and/or bath, and so on.
In addition, head over to your local assessors’ office or online county website and look for online access to its official records database. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to plug in the address of the property and get the information you need to work on an accurate property value.
Also, your real estate agent should be able to get you comps. You simply have to ask, but it’s also a good idea to learn how to research property values on your own. Looking at properties that have sold recently in the neighborhood is probably the best way to get an accurate number. Be sure the home is similar to the one you’re looking at in regards to condition, age, and size.
It’s quite easy to find comparable data these days to determine house value. Because the numbers are easy to find they may not be accurate or even close. If you head over to Zillow.com, there’s “Zestimate”, which will give you an estimate of house value based on sales comps and public records, this tends to be an “ok” estimate but it can be inaccurate. Trulia.com will also let you search for listings that have sold so you can gather an estimated comp.
Honestly the best thing you can do is either contact your realtor or use special software, such as ProfitGrabber, to pull the information up. While it may be more time consuming, its worth the extra effort to be accurate in your estimate.
Once you research one or two properties, you’ll better understand the process. The more you do, the more accurate you’ll get too. You may find your preferred method of finding property values along the way too and once you get a feel for it you will be able to go through this process very quickly.