home is ultimately worth what someone is willing to pay
for it. Everything else beyond that is an estimate of
value. There are two main ways to estimate a property’s
value. The first is an appraisal and the second is a comparative
market analysis. It is recommended to do both and then
to compare & contrast.
A certified appraiser performs an appraisal. This is an
estimate of the value of a home at a given point in time.
When an appraiser estimates your home’s value, they base
in on several items. They take into account square footage,
construction quality, the year the house was built, the
design and floor plan, the neighborhood, availability
of transportation, local shopping, schools, lot size,
topography, view, landscaping, and any additions or updates.
The cost of an appraisal averages about $300 and it usually
only takes about a half an hour to an hour to complete.
If you are unaware of whom to use, you can ask your mortgage
lender, they usually have one to two appraisers that they
work with regularly. Remember that an appraisal is only
valid for one year, so if it takes you over a year to
sell, or you refinance within a year, you need another
appraisal done. This ensures that the appraisals remain
Your real estate agent performs a comparative market analysis.
They usually provide this to you once you list your house
on the market with them. They pull three to four homes
with the same square footage and amenities. This compares
your house to other very similar homes that sold in your
neighborhood. This is usually a free service provided
to you by your agent that can give you a benchmark of
where your asking price should be.
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