Property owners today have resources at their fingertips to help them determine the value of their property. Right? Yes, but if you want to understand the MARKET value of your property, be very careful which valuation tools you trust.
The sites that create automatic values for residential real estate
are interesting--and notoriously
inaccurate. They base the value on tax records and recent area home sales (sounds good, so far), but what they can't do is evaluate the characteristics that are not evident on-line. Things that are generally not part of these valuations include, higher end finish work, upscale improvements, and proximity to things such as roads, schools, and power-lines that can affect both value and speed of sale. There are also some negatives that don't show up these valuations: improvements that are below average for the neighborhood, deferred maintenance, poor presentation, and lack of cleanliness.
What about the tax assessment records? Those are often valued lower than market value since market value is a factor of supply and demand. A tax assessment might be a good place to start, but it won't get you to a fair market price for your home.
You can hire an appraiser to help you out, but they are going to charge you for the job.
A local Realtor can help you by putting together a Comparative Market Analysis, also called a CMA. This takes in to account all of the factors that create value in a residential property. For the greatest accuracy, the Realtor should have access to your home, but at a minimum you can ask for a draft CMA that can be updated later. While any Realtor® can do a CMA of your property, the better their understanding of your specific community, the more accurate it will be.
Remember, the Internet can provide a wealth of information, but what it can't do--at least not yet--is provide analysis beyond the statistics. For an accurate market value of your home, you are still better off relying on a professional!
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