Are you wondering what your home could be worth as it stands today? It’s possible to find out right away online, and the value may be surprising.
Fundamentally, a house is worth exactly what any given buyer is willing to offer. Unfortunately, the housing market is not particularly liquid, which means the value isn’t always obvious. It also means there can be a bit of luck involved. Will you list your home during a time in which there aren’t many other properties on the market in your area? Is there a desperate buyer looking for a house just like yours? Is the housing market as a whole doing well right now? There are a number of factors outside of your control.
However, thanks to the internet and modern technology it’s still very possible to get a reasonably accurate range for what your house might be worth on the market today. Whether you’re looking to sell your home, refinance a mortgage, or lower your property taxes, knowing the value of your home can be highly beneficial. Here are a few ways in which you can discover your home’s current value.
1. Consider a Comparative Market Analysis
A comparative market analysis is a detailed report on the current value of a home. It is typically provided by a real estate professional.¹ It determines the value of a home by looking at sales of similar properties in the vicinity. The real estate professional’s knowledge of the local area is key to coming up with an accurate home valuation based on a comparative market analysis.
In order to have a comparative market analysis performed for your home, you typically need to be working with a real estate agent. This means that this method of valuation is best for when you’re specifically looking to sell your home, or at least considering the process. Of course, if you have a good relationship with a local real estate broker, they may provide you with one without expecting an immediate sale listing, so it’s alway worth inquiring.
2. Get an Appraisal
One of the most obvious and more traditional ways of valuing a home is to hire an appraiser. One of the benefits of using an appraiser is that they tend to be certified professionals. This means that the quality of their valuation is likely be high, and they will often produce an official report to validate their work. Appraisers will be able to visually inspect the home, so if the house has any noteworthy positives or negatives they will be able to factor that into the valuation.² In some cases, a bank may require an appraisal if you’re looking to get a mortgage or refinance.
The main downside of getting an appraisal is that it tends to be a more expensive option. It’s also not necessarily the most timely. You’ll need to book them in for a time to visit your home and then wait for their follow up report. If you’re just looking to find out a rough but semi-accurate estimate of what your home might be worth and you don’t need anything official, there may be better options.
3. Get an Online Estimate
The easiest starting point to figure out the value of your home is to simply get an online estimate. There are a number of online services that can provide instant or near-instant valuation estimates of your home, often at no or minimal cost.³ These tools will look at the sales of nearby properties along with other public data to produce a surprisingly accurate range for the value of your home on the market today.
In many cases, getting an online estimate is the ideal first step. Once you’ve got an idea of what your home might be worth, you can then decide whether it’s time to sell or refinance. You may then decide to get an appraisal to make sure the online estimate is accurate. You can also do nothing and simply rest easy knowing your curiosity has been satisfied.
Finding one of these online home valuation calculators is about as easy as it gets. It just takes some basic searching and before you know it you’ll be on the way to getting a good idea of the value of your home.