If you want to sell or refinance, it’s very important to understand the true value of your home. Many factors impact your home’s value, including:
- Market demand
- Recent sales in your immediate area (comps)
- The condition of your home
- Improvements you’ve made
It’s no secret most homeowners go online to get a basic home value on sites such as Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com. This information is easy to access but not always the most accurate. If homes in your area haven’t sold in many years, the lack of information can potentially undervalue your home. On the other hand, homes selling in your area with major remodels could overvalue yours if it has not been updated.
How to determine what your home is worth when selling
Any real estate agent will tell you that your home is only worth what someone is willing to pay. There is truth to that when selling your home. Talking to a real estate agent is a great place to start. They have access to recent comparable sales (comps), as well as trends in the marketplace. Plus, it’s their job. They are experts.
Some of the trends that can impact a home’s value or a realistic list price are:
- Price per Square Foot – take the average price/sf and multiple it by your home’s square feet
- Supply – number of active homes for sale in your area
- Days on Market – how long it takes the average home to receive an accepted contract
- Price Reductions – how many homes are lowering their price and how frequently
- Contracts Over List Price – the amount or percentage of homes that sell for over the listing price
- Listing Price Trend – is the average list price going up or down?
- Seasonality – consider the best time to sell in your area (typically mild weather months)
How to determine what your home is worth when refinancing
If you’re looking to refinance, the truest value of your home is determined by an independent appraisal. Whether you are refinancing or selling your home, an appraisal is typically required with financing.
One of the more favorable trends in the mortgage industry is the frequency of “appraisal waivers.” Depending on the terms of the loan, i.e. loan-to-values <80%, or recent sales, lenders are more likely to waive the requirement for a formal appraisal in both refinance transactions and even some purchases.
Again, you can go online to get a basic idea of your home’s value. The easiest and most accurate resource can be a lender. At E5 Home Loans, we have software to get an individual lender’s estimated value and determine in advance if an appraisal waiver is available.
How do appraisers value my home?
An appraiser conducts a detailed analysis of the surrounding market and does not use price per square foot. Recently sold homes that are most like your home will carry the greatest weight in the appraiser’s report. These recent sales are placed in a comparison grid with your home, and the specifications of the homes are examined in detail. Those details include:
- Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, fireplaces
- Size of the garage or carport
- Whether the home has a pool or patio
The appraised value is just a snapshot in time of what your home is worth in the opinion of that appraiser. Appraisers are independent, impartial, and licensed.
Does the type of loan impact the appraisal?
When a buyer uses a FHA insured or VA guaranteed mortgage, the value of the appraisal report is specifically attached to that property for a period of up to 6 months. If for some reason, the contract with the buyer does not proceed, any subsequent FHA or VA buyers, respectively, will be bound by the value of that previous appraisal. If a buyer comes along with some other form of financing, the previous appraisal is irrelevant.
Be careful of over-valuing your home
You want to ask for a price that attracts buyers. If you overprice your home from the beginning, buyers and their agents may question if you’re serious about selling or may be unreasonable in negotiations. Real estate agents typically advise their buyers based on the factors mentioned in How to determine what your home is worth when selling.
What distorts an owner’s perceived value are things like personal sentiments regarding the home, and even some expensive upgrades which the owner enjoyed, but may not have added value.
If you’re interested in selling or refinancing your home, contact E5 Home Loans and one of our Loan Originators can help guide you through the process of determining what your home might be worth and if it’s the right time to sell or refinance. E5 Home Loans shops for the best products across many lenders and we don’t charge a bunch of crazy fees.