If you are thinking about selling your home, want to buy a home, are calculating your net worth, or are just plain curious, it is good to know how to calculate your home’s current market value. I am a real estate agent in Greeley, Colorado and we specialize in valuing homes all the time. There are a number of ways to determine the value, some better than others. here’s a pro’s view on determining your house value.
What is a home’s value?
Generally, the value of a house is very simple. It’s the price at which a willing buyer and a willing seller agree on. In other words, it comes down to opinions and tastes.
The price a buyer is willing to pay can and will be influenced by larger factors, such as the willingness of lenders to loan on the property, the cost of money, what other homes that buyer can get for the money, and much more. This last factor, which can be called substitution, is perhaps the most important. If a buyer has a particular budget, that person will see which houses he or she has to choose from. Therefore the price a buyer is willing to pay is fairly heavily based on nearby comparable (aka substitute) properties.
In simple terms your home is worth what similar houses in the area have recently sold for (comparable properties). Buyers, real estate agents, lenders and appraisers all use comparable property sales to determine value. You value a home in any town the same way, whether it is in Greeley, Fort Collins, Loveland or Denver. The only thing that changes are the houses you are comparing the house being valued too.
What is NOT a factor in a home’s value in Greeley?
When it comes to valuing your own home, there are many factors that are tough to distance yourself from. These are often soft factors that don’t truly impact your home’s value, and they include:
- The price you paid for the home
- The price you paid to improve it
- How much you owe on it
- How much you want to make on it
These are factors that will be different for every house, but do not affect value. If your house is in better shape than the house next door, it will be worth more money given everything else is the same. But, you would still only take into consideration what houses in the same condition would sell for, not how much you spent.
How often should I figure my home’s value?
If there is one thing about real estate, it’s that the markets change fast and often. In Greeley and Northern Colorado we have seen huge price increases in the last few years. As we’ve discussed in other articles such as our Greeley and Evans monthly market updates, homes prices are up on average by about 8% over this time last year, and much more over prior years. So home values don’t stay put.
- If you’re just curious, use a simple method to update your value on-demand.
- If you are charting your net worth, you can figure the value once per quarter or possibly even once per year
- If you have your home listed for sale or are considering selling, you can adjust the value on a monthly basis
The easy way to estimate your home’s value is to ask a real estate agent
A great way to get your home’s value is to ask a professional who spends every day looking at houses, has access to great tools and databases, and knows the ins and outs of the market. We will generally look at homes that are active, under contract, and that have sold within the last 6 months or so.
Most real estate agents are happy to do this for you for free. It builds relationships and can occasionally bridge to a sale.
We will be happy to provide a full analysis for you. You can submit your name and address and also see the sort of detail we provide back to you by visiting our “What is my home’s value?” link.
You can also call us at (970) 573-6441.
How to determine value by visiting nearby similar homes for sale
One of the best ways to refine your price is to actually go see competitive homes for sale in your area. Oftentimes, even the real estate agent you’re working with will want to do this step. This way you’ll know what buyers are looking at in addition to your home. What’s your competition? How does your house stack up?
The only downside, apart from time, is that you are only looking at homes that are for sale. You are missing out on actual sale and contract prices. In Greeley there are very few homes for sale, it can make it tough to find similar houses on the market.
The skeptics way: researching housing value on your own
I am a skeptic by nature. I am all for letting the professionals do what they do, but I also like to apply a bit of my own analysis to ensure I’m getting the full and straight story.
Further, if you are just pulling for curiosity’s sake or to calculate your net worth, it may make most sense to pull a quick and dirty value on your own.
Here are some great tips:
Zestimates on Zillow
Zestimates are an okay starting point, but they can vary widely from actual. There’s just too much the database in Zillow can’t know. Here’s a great article on how accurate the Zestimate function in Zillow is.
Use Local Websites for More Scouting
The website that syncs really well with the Colorado real estate database is www.coloproperty.com. In fact, this is the consumer end of the system real estate agents use themselves.
By using their home value tool, you’ll be able to see several homes in the area for sale along with recent sales. This is good, but has similar limiting factors to Zestimates. You can take this a step further by clicking on the homes that are for sale, looking at the pictures, and comparing them to your home.
I then recommend going back to their main search on the home page, clicking on More Options under the search button, and then searching by these variables:
- Search in your city
- Add your subdivision name
- Change the search type to “Houses Only”
- Refine as needed to limit down to houses more similar to yours (see factors below)
The results will show you both active sales and ones that are under contract. This doesn’t give you “solds,” but it should help considerably.
From here, find similar homes by looking variables such as:
- Number of beds, baths, and garage spaces
- Square footage
- Finished basement
- Ranches vs multi-level
- Lot size
- Year built
- Interior style and quality
- Exterior style and quality
There are many, many factors that impact your home’s value, and that value will change regularly. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional, but also don’t be afraid to look yourself if you only need a close estimate. And it’s fun seeing information about the homes in your neighborhood!
If you want our local professional opinion for homes in Greeley or the surrounding area, we will happily do so for free!