Have you been thinking about putting your home up for sale? If so, one of your first steps is to get an idea of what it's worth so you know what you're getting into. As they say, knowledge is power.
Many factors go into determining the value of a home. Location, square footage, the age and condition of the house, and neighborhood "comps" to name a few.
Heck, even if you're not in the selling market, wouldn't you like to have an idea of how much your property is worth? But with a constantly changing market, the value can fluctuate incredibly fast.
That's why we're going to tell you about a few ways to find out how much your house is worth. So you can have a general idea whenever you're ready.
(PssT! If you're interested in buying a home, check back next week and we'll give you tips for that.)
Ways to find out how much your house is worth
When researching the value of your home, you don't want to rely on just one site. Spend a little time checking out a few resources so you have a clearer picture. Many of them function similarly, but can give you different results.
And keep in mind, the figures that you'll come up with during your search are only estimates of what your house might sell for. You won't know the exact value until you start getting serious offers from buyers.
So let's get started with a few helpful online resources.
Realtor.com is a very handy site that lets you get a quick estimate of your home. And it's very easy to use.
All you need to do is go to Realtor.com and select the Sell tab at the top of the screen. Then just enter your complete address in the box that appears on the screen. It looks like the image below:
Once you've entered your address, tap the Get Estimate button. You'll be taken to another page that shows the estimated value of your home.
It'll also show you how much you could make selling your home by breaking down several factors. Things like the sale price minus real estate agent commission, the balance owed on your mortgage and more are taken into consideration.
Here's an example: Your estimated sale price is $250,000, you owe $120,000 on your mortgage, you'll be paying a 6% commission plus a 1% transfer tax and plan to allow $3,000 for repairs/improvements/staging. You're looking at $109,500 for estimated proceeds.
Again, these are just estimates. Taxes and commissions might be different in your situation and maybe your home doesn't need repairs.
You can also see photographs of homes in your neighborhood, along with the price that home buyers recently paid for them. You can find out how much nearby homes are renting for, to find out if renting makes more financial sense for you than selling.
Zillow.com has an estimate feature for sellers that is similar to the one we just talked about at Realtor.com. In fact, several sites out there have similar features, but there's a good chance that you will receive different estimates on each one. That's why it's important to check a few of them out, and come up with an average for a closer estimate.
First, go to Zillow.com and select the Sell option at the top of the screen. Then, enter your exact address in the box and tap Search.
After selecting Search, you'll be taken to another page that shows your "Zestimate." It also gives you a 1-year forecast, meaning what you could expect the estimate to be 1 year from now.
Toward the bottom of the page, you'll see potential comparable homes in the area that recently sold. You can select one that is most comparable to yours for more detailed information about the sale.
On that page, you can also choose to receive a cash offer from Zillow. No staging, showings, or repairs, and you can move when you're ready.
Just answer a few questions about your home and enter an email address and phone number and voila, you're on your way to receiving an offer.
Trulia is another site that can help you find an estimate for your house. But you can also research properties in other areas if you're thinking about moving. It lets you explore areas by address, neighborhood, city, or ZIP.
To find the estimated value of your home, go to the Trulia home page and type your address into the search bar. Then click the search button.
After clicking search, you'll be taken to a page that shows your Trulia Estimate and a ton of more useful data. A little lower on the page you'll see the complete history of what the home sold for.
Not only that, but it lists homes nearby that are for sale so you can get an idea of what your neighbors' listing prices are. And, there's a section that shows real estate pricing trends in your ZIP. It tells you the average listing price, median sale price and average sale price per square foot.
Trulia is actually full of helpful information. If you're looking into moving to a new area, it lets you check out local information. You learn about local schools, crime, where to shop and eat, demographics, and more.
Searching for prices beyond your house
Finding the price of your house is a great idea, but getting a feel for the area and the market is a good idea, too. This can let you know if your house is undervalued or that maybe you need a few repairs to bring it up to the average price.
Here are some sites than can help.
Homes.com has a search feature that's a lot like those on Zillow and Realtor.com. Simply type your address into the search bar on the home page and tap search to get an estimate of the value of your home.
But there's another cool feature on this site. You can find out what homes are selling for by state and by metropolitan areas within the state.
Begin by selecting the Home Values option at the top of the home page. That'll take you to another page to conduct your search.
Before entering your search criteria, take a look at the information displayed under this search feature. You'll see an overview of the U.S. housing market that includes the median listing price, price per square foot and median square footage.
Now that you have that info, you can look up home values by state, city, ZIP code, or address. The estimates are based on prices homes were sold for in the area, which are a matter of public record.
Speaking of public records, most counties in the U.S. now have property tax information online. Since property tax is based on a home's value, it's a good tool to research before selling your house. It lets you know what your county or municipal government sees as your home's value.
Publicrecords.netronline.com can help you navigate to yours. There's a public records online directory right on the home page, but finding property tax information can be a little tricky.
Begin by selecting the state you're interested in on the map found on the home page. Then, select the county your property is located.
You'll see a list of county offices to choose from. For most states, you'll find property tax info in the County Assessor's office, but it could be different in your state.
Click on the Go to Data Online button next to the County Assessor option. It'll take you to another page with a search option that you can type the house address in.
Once you type in an address and click search, you'll be taken to another page that lists the address, owner, parcel number and other information. Click on the parcel number and it'll take you to a page full of helpful information.
You should see something that says "Click here to pay your taxes or view your tax bill." The words may differ from state to state. Click on that link and you will see tax details from the previous year, both the assessed tax and tax paid.
Do a quick online search to find out what the property tax rate is in your county and that will give you a general idea of what the value of your home is according to local government. I know, I know, it's a bit of a choppy process but it's good information to have.
If you're not quite ready to sell
Zillow has a feature that is great for those who are thinking about selling their house but aren't quite ready. It's called Make Me Move. It's a way for you to test the market and gauge interest in your home without officially listing it for sale.
Here's how it works: First, log into your Zillow profile and find the "Sell" button on the menu bar at the top of the screen. Then, select "Make me move" from the drop down menu. On the following screen, enter the complete address of your home and click continue.
You may be asked to verify that your home is mapped correctly. Then you can set the price you're looking for and upload photos. Here is where you can edit facts about your house if need be and add additional information that could help increase the price.
Once your Make Me Move listing is posted, potential buyers can contact you through email to discuss a possible sale.
As the homeowner, your identity will remain anonymous until you decide you want to share this information. Then it's up to you whether or not you sell. And you can remove your listing anytime.
Bonus: How downsizing brought a couple closer together
Too busy to read? Tap or click below to listen to the story on your commute to work.
After retirement, Hal and Jackie decided to sell their home and downsize, live in an RV and travel the country. What started out as a fun idea became a new lifestyle and the adventure of a lifetime. Their love grew stronger and they are now inseparable.
In this Komando on Demand podcast, hear their story, their day to day life on the road, and what they learned along the way.
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