Knowing your home's value can help if you decide to sell, and it can be useful if you're thinking of borrowing against the equity in your home.
Here are some methods to help get an accurate idea of what your home is worth:
- Basic data. If you're selling your house, know the market. Examine actual sale prices for similar properties before you list your home. Local newspapers are an excellent resource, as are real estate Web sites.
- Market analysis. Realty agents will give you a price recommendation, called a competitive market analysis, which includes recent comparable sales and other listings that might compete with yours. These reports are produced at no cost to sellers, so it doesn't hurt to get a few different ones before listing your house.
- Appraisal. If you want to avoid paying a commission to a realty agent, get an appraisal for your house and use that to determine your asking price.
- Automated valuation models (AVMs). AVMs allow you to use your computer to get a value for your house. You enter a street address and, if information is available about that address, it will give you an estimated property value.
- Tracking your local market. Get a sense of the real estate climate in your area, not just your neighborhood. Some organizations, such as the National Association of Realtors (www.realtor.org), offer quarterly research about local markets.
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