- Interior features & characteristics – While the number of bedrooms and baths are not something you’ll be changing to compete better with other homes, you do need to objectively compare them in order to end up with a listing price that will get your property sold. Some things I can consider for improvements, others I just need to know how your home compares to other homes buyers will be seeing. Other features/characteristics:
- Floor plan
- Built date and obsolescence
- Floors & walls condition, paint, etc.
- Kitchen features
- Room sizes
- Lighting, skylights, windows
- Exterior – That “curb appeal” thing really does mean something. When a prospective buyer first drives up in front of your home, they’re going to get a first impression that is very important. I help you to look at things like landscaping, exterior paint and condition. Here is an area in which small expenditures can yield big results. It’s a fact that some buyers will ask to leave without ever stepping across the threshold if they get a bad first curb appeal impression.
- Condition – Minor repairs can also make a major difference. Many buyers assume that a need for minor repairs indicates a general lack of fundamental maintenance over time. They’ll discount their offer, if they make one, thinking they’ll have a lot of work to do to bring the home to a good condition. So, I'm honest with you about things that I see and buyers will see and consider in their evaluation. From cracked window panes to scarred walls or doors, we’ll let you know what we believe is important and make suggestions.
Here are four reliable sources of home pricing trends and data that you can use to construct a sturdy comparative market analysis.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency – This little-known website has two priceless tools, both drawing from home sale data pulled from mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That’s the vast majority of mortgages made each year.
- FHFA House Price Index shows the home value trends for metropolitan areas from Akron (OH) to Williamsport (PA). You can use the trend to see where values are headed in your area: up, down or nowhere. This shows you the momentum of your local market, which helps you know how to pace your expectations.
- FHFA House Price Calculator lets you enter in the purchase price for a house in any metro area; the calculator applies FHFA index to that house and provides the likely market value of that house. However, this does not include either the value added by improvements or subtracted by a distressed sale situation, so you will have to take these considerations into your pricing strategy.
- Local property tax records – You can look up the most recent sale price of houses that are the most like yours in your neighborhood online or in person. Most databases even let you search by street address. Plug those sale prices into the FHFA’s House Price Calculator to come up with a comparative market analysis and map of values for houses near yours.
- Local building permit information – Look up – in person or online – the building permit information for nearby houses that you think are similar to yours. This will help you peer inside your neighbors’ houses and pinpoint exactly what they’ve done to improve their properties (assuming, of course, that your neighbors got building permits for their projects). You will have to visit the house to see what kinds of fixtures and finishes your neighbors chose, but the permit history for each house will reveal the big-ticket improvements that support major leaps in value, such as bathroom additions.
- FNC – FNCcollects data about the changes made to each house (improvements, for example) and blends that with current sales data to produce indices of home value for major metro areas – far more than the 20 covered by the Case-Schiller Index. Just look for the newest FNC Index report underneath the “Latest News & Media” section on their home page.
Organize the data you collect from these sources in a spreadsheet to help you identify the key trends for your neighborhood. These values and trends can help you frame a realistic market value for your own home.