You want to sell your home, but you are not sure what it is really worth in today’s market? Using the right comparable sales will help you to find the perfect price.
The value of your home is much more difficult to predict and the information available to home sellers can be untrustworthy. Online home valuation sites are fun to play with, but they are based on past sales, not current market factors. Newspaper listings give you some information, but houses are usually so different that it’s hard to compare.
The best method available to home sellers to learn their home’s current value so they can select the best sale price is a CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis. CMA is the term real estate agents use when they conduct an in-depth analysis of a home’s worth in today’s market.
The best part about a CMA is that it’s usually free!
Your Realtor will prepare a CMA for you before you list your home. Setting the price too low means you’ll get less money for your home; setting it too high means it might not sell at all. Every real estate agent in the country will want to complete a CMA on your home before helping you sell it. Sellers who haven’t yet chosen a real estate agent often ask several agents to complete CMAs so there is opportunity to meet different agents and to see how they work.
How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.
Knowing how much homes similar to yours sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.
What makes a good comparable sale?
Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision—and it closed escrow last week. If you can’t find that, here are other factors that count:
Location: The closer to your house the better, but don’t just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.
Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it’s finished), finishes, and yard size.
Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Is there a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowner’s association fees?
Date of sale: You may want to use a comparable sale from two years ago when the market was high, but that won’t fly. Most buyers use government-guaranteed mortgages, and those lending programs say comparable sales can be no older than 90 days.
Sales sweeteners: Did the comparable-sale sellers give the buyers down payment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.
Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights
Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors’. Evaluating those differences—like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or an office—is one of the ways real estate agents add value.
An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She/he has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.
More ways to pick a home listing price
If you’re still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her/him without taking the criticism personally).
Are foreclosures and short sales comparables?
If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.
A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can’t pay their mortgage can’t afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.
Short sales are typically in good condition, although they are still distressed sales. The owners usually have to sell because they’re divorcing, or their employer is moving them out of state.
How much short sales are discounted from their market value varies among local markets.
So you have to rely on your REALTOR’s® knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.
Call us today at (480) 421-8116 for Your Personalized Market Analysis.