Buying Your Home - Appraisals & Market Value
What's a house worth?
A home ultimately is worth what
someone will pay for it. Everything else is an estimate of value. To determine a
property's value, most people turn to either an appraisal or a comparative
market analysis. An appraisal is a certified appraiser's estimate of the value
of a home at a given point in time. Appraisers consider square footage,
construction quality, design, floor plan, neighborhood and availability of
transportation, shopping and schools. Appraisers also take lot size, topography,
view and landscaping into account. Most appraisals cost about $300. A
comparative market analysis is a real estate broker's or agent's informal
estimate of a home's market value, based on sales of comparable homes in a
neighborhood. Most agents will give you a comparative market analysis for free.
You can do your own cost comparison by looking up recent sales of comparable
properties in public records. These records are available at local recorder or
assessor offices, through private real estate information companies or on the
What is the difference between list price, sales price and
The list price is a seller's advertised price, a figure
that usually is only a rough estimate of what the seller wants to get. Sellers
can price high, low or close to what they hope to get. To judge whether the list
price is a fair one, be sure to consult comparable sales prices in the area. The
sales price is the amount of money you as a buyer would pay for a property. The
appraisal value is a certified appraiser's estimate of the worth of a property,
and is based on comparable sales, the condition of the property and numerous
What are the standard ways of finding out how much a
home is worth?
A comparative market analysis and an appraisal are the
standard methods for determining a home's value. Your real estate agent will be
happy to provide a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value
based on comparable sales in the neighborhood. Be sure you get listing prices of
current homes on the market as well as those that have sold.