How to Determine a Fair Market Value for Your Home

By Rebekah Bell

 

During the home selling process, one of the first questions most people have is, “How much is my home worth?” Setting an asking price is a major decision where mistakes are easy to make: If you set it too high it may sit on the market for an extended period of time, but if you set it too low you may miss out on thousands of dollars. Thankfully, you don’t have to navigate this process on your own. Here’s how to determine the fair market value of your home.

 

Use an Online Calculator

According to a NerdWallet survey, 22 percent of homeowners have used an online calculator to estimate the value of their home. Zillow, Redfin and similar real estate marketplaces offer online tools that sellers can use to calculate the estimated value of their home based on similarly sized homes in the neighborhood, local tax assessments and data about whether homes in the area are increasing or decreasing in value. While you shouldn’t rely solely on an online calculator, it’s a good starting point. 

 

Hire an Appraiser (and a Real Estate Agent)

After getting a ballpark estimate, hire a certified or licensed real estate appraiser to give you a pre-listing appraisal. The average appraisal in Los Angeles costs $316 to $576, but it can be a worthwhile investment. Having an independent analysis of your home’s value will help you figure out which offers are reasonable.

 

The appraiser will conduct his or her analysis by inspecting your property and comparing it with the sales of similar homes in the area. They will look at exterior features (such as the roof, paint status and gutters) as well as interior features (such as square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and appliances). To prepare for the appraisal, make sure to clean your house from top to bottom, mow the lawn and keep any kids or pets out of the way.

 

You’ll also want to make sure to hire an experienced real estate agent to help guide you through the process. A knowledgeable agent will help you navigate the selling process from start to finish by bringing in would-be buyers and helping you determine which offer you should accept.

 

Increase Your Home Value

If the appraisal price is less than you were banking on, you can take some simple steps to boost your home’s value prior to putting it on the market. Start by giving the house a fresh coat of paint, if needed, because that’s one of the first things people will notice when touring the property. You can also consider adding updated appliances or energy-efficient systems that are more in line with what current buyers are looking for. If you’re feeling extra motivated, you might want to consider renovating some of the key areas — from the bathroom to the kitchen.

 

It’s also a good idea to stage the home with new furniture and beautiful artwork to enable potential buyers to more easily picture themselves there. 

 

Contact the Suarez Team today if you’re looking for a trustworthy real estate agent in Los Angeles. With years of combined experience under our belts, we can help you figure out a reasonable and realistic price for your home — and help you find qualified buyers as quickly as possible. 

 

Rebekah Bell is a writer who lives in Los Angeles.

 

References:

ProMatcher Real Estate Appraisal – Los Angeles Real Estate Appraisal Costs & Prices – ProMatcher Cost Report

Nerd Wallet – How to Determine Home Value and Why It Matters

Suarez Team – Five DIY Home Renovation Ideas to Increase Your Property Value