You May Be Pleasantly Surprised By Your Current Home Value!
It’s easy to verify 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 a far more complex endeavor.
As a seller, knowing your home’s value helps you to set realistic expectations and to price competitively. If you price your home far above market, it may languish unsold while homes around you sell quickly. But price it too low and you may be leaving thousands of dollars on the table at closing. On the other hand, as a buyer, you’ll want to be confident of a home’s value before you make an offer. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be ready to make a competitive offer, while ensuring that you don’t overpay.
But what if you are a homeowner with no plans to sell in the near future? Of course, you will still benefit from knowing your home’s value, as well as current market trends. As a result, you will learn how much equity, a key element of your wealth building strategy, you have accumulated over the years. Armed with this information, you will be able to make sound decisions as to when to sell and move on, whether to dip into your equity to upgrade your home and much more.
So where do you begin? You would be wise to have a Realtor with a PSA(Pricing Strategy Resource) certification prepare a comparative market analysis for you. To be sure, this report will give you a reliable estimate of your home’s value. But best of all, our firm and many others offer this customized report free of charge and without obligation.
THE THREE TYPES OF HOME VALUE
When you start the process of buying or selling a home, you’ll frequently hear the terms “appraised value”, “assessed value”, and “market value”. Understanding each of these phrases will give you a frame of reference from which to view the estimates of value you receive. As a result, you will be better able to make sound financial decisions.
(1) Appraised Value
A professional appraiser prepares the estimate of value known as an appraisal. Appraisers are specially trained, objective, licensed professionals who have no allegiance to the buyer, seller, or lender. They are tasked with the responsibility to use best appraisal practices to estimate a home’s value. Lenders commonly require an appraisal before funding a loan. To protect their interests, they usually insisted on appointing the appraiser. However, the borrower typically pays the appraisal fee. Of course, regardless of who appoints the appraiser or who pays the appraisal fee, the appraiser owes loyalty only to the facts.
The appraised value of a home usually forms the base from which lenders will compute how much they are willing to lend on a property. For example, imagine that a seller lists a home for $400,000 and accepts a $375,000 offer. Then the appraiser’s report values the home at only $325,000. 1 If we assume that the bank has agreed to lend a maximum amount of 80% on the home, significant issues then arise. Please understand that the lender has agreed to finance 80% of the appraised value of the home, not the listing price or the contract price. Therefore, the buyer and seller had anticipated that the down payment will be $75,000 and the loan principal will be $300,000. But the appraisal has changed everything.
Now if buyer and seller do not renegotiate the offer price, the buyer will borrow only $260,000 and be required to make a down payment of $115,000. Clearly, all things remaining unchanged, this would be unfair to the buyer on several accounts. Therefore, typically a renegotiation of the purchase price ensues. If the buyer and seller agree on a resolution satisfactory to both and implement it, the deal is again on track to close. If not, they may terminate the deal, the buyer may claim a refund of all deposit monies, and both may go their separate ways. This example clearly demonstrates the impact an appraisal can have on a sale.
The local property appraiser determines the assessed value of a home. He then uses this assessed value to compute property taxes due. The lower your assessed value, the less property tax you’ll pay.2 State laws such as homestead statutes may limit tax assessments. Additionally, how the assessor implements state policy has an impact. Therefore, assessed values usually lag significantly behind fair market values.
The assessor then recomputes property assessed values annually to take into account market factors that influence property values. Many counties also 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 county uses a 70% multiplier, the assessed value of the home would be $210,000 for tax purposes.3
If your assessed value is higher than you believe is fair, you have recourse. You may appeal the assessment and request a lower valuation. If your request is granted, you will benefit from a reduced property tax bill. We are happy to consult with you and help you to determine whether launching an appeal makes sense in your circumstances.
True Home Value
The true market value of a home is defined as the amount an independent buyer is willing to offer, and an independent seller is willing to accept, when freely negotiating an agreement to change ownership of a property. An experienced realtor, especially one who has earned a PSA certification, has the expertise and training necessary to prepare a reliable estimate of your home’s value, an educated approximation of true market value. The technique used to arrive at such an estimate is known as a comparative market analysis.
Many sites offer instant, AVM based estimates of a home’s value. But are they reliable?
Real estate sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia offer instant home valuations. These valuations are computed by automated value models which depend on proprietary algorithms to arrive at rough estimates of value. They largely depend on comparable sales and take into consideration square footage, lot size and general home features. While they have value, they are much less precise than CMAs. For example, Zillow claims to arrive at “Zestimates” by calculating “public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions.” 5 However, these Zestimates are no more than instant, algorithm based estimates in our opinion and in Zillow’s as well.
AVM estimates may serve as a starting point for a conversation with your Realtor. However, even Zillow recommends that you ask your Realtor to prepare a CMA because it offers a much more reliable estimate of a home’s market value.
HOW AN AGENT ESTIMATES YOUR HOME’S MARKET VALUE
How do Realtors prepare a comparative market analysis? They take into consideration comps, special features that differentiate your home, recent improvements and renovations, the relative condition of your home and much more. Here are a few factors they pay special attention to:4
Neighborhood sales – Your agent will look at similar, recently sold homes in your neighborhood to see what they sold for, what they have in common with your house and what differentiates them.
The exterior – Your agent will factor in everything that impacts the curb appeal of your home.
The interior – Square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, appliances, floor plan, level of maintenance, updating, renovations and many other factors are considered.
Age of the home – The chronological and effective ages of your home come into play. For example, if two homes are of the same chronological age, but one has been totally updated and renovated, while the other looks its age, the valuations of the two are likely to be materially different.
Style of the home – The style of your home is important because buyers in different markets have different tastes. If buyers prefer ranch homes in your market and such homes are in short supply, your ranch is likely to be valued at a premium.
Market trends – Because a local agent knows your market, they are likely to understand better than out of area Realtors what style, size and price range of homes sell best. They can also advise how best to improve your home’s marketability.
Location, location, location
Obviously, your agent will take into consideration the forces of supply and demand and how they impact your neighborhood. Factors such as safety, school districts, proximity to needed services, neighborhood curb appeal and sales statistics will impact value.
A computer algorithm simply can’t take all of these factors into consideration when calculating the value of your home.
Get a Complimentary Report Estimating Your Home’s True Market Value
Are you thinking of selling your home? Then request your complementary comparative market analysis to learn how much equity you have built up over the last few years. You may be pleasantly surprised.
“Real Estate provides the highest returns, the greatest values, and the least risk.”
–Armstrong Williams, entrepreneur
Over the last three years we have seen record breaking appreciation and wealth building in Ocala real estate. However, this is just the beginning for our town. Projections show record economic growth that may last for decades. There are few better opportunities to invest in real estate than those offered in our market.
Andrew Kruglanski, MBA, ABD, Broker