How Much Is Your Home Worth?
The simple truth is that the market value of your home is what a buyer is willing to pay. An estimate of your home’s value is a prediction of what most buyers would be willing to pay at a given time. This prediction requires a close look at two factors: recent home sales in your area, and an assessment of the real estate market. Pricing correctly is fundamental to a successful outcome in the sale of your home.
Recent closed sales in your area offer the most relevant data for predicting the sale price of your home. Later, when your home is appraised for the buyer’s loan, the appraiser will only consider closed sales. List prices of homes on the market are of interest too, because they show the current pricing trend.
If your home is superior or inferior to most homes in the neighborhood, or if there are no nearby sales, then it will be more difficult to anticipate the responses of potential buyers. In this case, a strategy of trial and error may be necessary. This strategy will require a realistic assessment of buyer responses. Sometimes buyer responses are unrelated to the size and condition of the home.
Real Estate Market
An important part of pricing is an assessment of the state of the real estate market. The market may favor sellers or buyers, or be in balance. An indicator of the quality of the market is the number of months of standing inventory in your market and price range. The current inventory divided by the rate of sale shows the number of months it will take to clear the current inventory and reveal the state of the real estate market in your area.
Less than 6 months of unsold inventory is considered a seller’s market. In this market, there is a large number of buyers in proportion to the number of homes for sale. The demand for homes is greater than the supply. Buyers must compete with each other for homes. Sellers often receive multiple offers. Buyers will submit the highest price that the market will support. Prices will trend upward. In a climbing market, it makes sense to price slightly above recent sales.
More than 8 months of inventory is considered a buyer’s market. In a buyer’s market the number of homes for sale is large compared with the number of buyers. This market is created by excessive construction, employment decline or high interest rates. A low number of buyers relative to the inventory results in lower prices. Sellers must compete with each other for available buyers. Prices trend downward. In a falling market, prices should be set at the lower end of the range because time works against you – in six months prices may be lower. This may be difficult to do, especially if the home was purchased at a higher price.
Price Per Square Foot
Dollars per square foot is often used as tool for comparing homes. Keep in mind that you must make a sliding scale adjustment from larger to smaller homes. In other words, the larger the house, the lower the price per square foot for comparable properties. This is because the core square footage of a home has a higher value than the peripheral area. The price per sq. ft. on a 1,000 sf home will be much higher than a 5,000 sf home, for similar quality homes.
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