Finding out how much your home is worth is probably a question that every homeowner thinks about at some point or another. “How much?” is a fairly simple question. My experience from law school is that there are not always such simple answers. I used to hate to hear “it depends”. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to apply what I've heard in the past to this article. What your home may be worth will depend.
An internet search might be a good way to start the process but be sure that your research doesn’t end there.
For those of you looking to find out your home’s value, in the current market, there are innumerable online value estimators that will tell you what range they think your home might sell for. I looked up a couple of our personal properties and found that the range could be a matter of ten thousand dollars for one property and upwards of one hundred thirty-thousand dollars for another property. While ten thousand dollars between the low and the high end of a price range might be a decent estimate for one of the properties, the difference of one hundred thirty-thousand dollars is just too great a range to make the online valuation a reasonable and accurate indicator of your home’s value.
The online estimators can give you a starting point as to what numbers you might hope to see but they fail to factor in the aspects of your home that truly make it a home and not just some wood and concrete blocks on a plot of land. What about that new air conditioner unit or roof you recently had installed? Or the upgrades you made to your kitchen and/or bathroom to make it look like those fancy rooms you see in the design magazines? Does the estimator know the demographics of your neighborhood and how everyone within a 50 mile radius knows your community and wishes they lived there, too? Probably not.
So how do you get a better gauge as to how much your home may be worth and how this information will help? The easy answer is to schedule a time for your local Realtor® to come out to your home and meet with you to provide you with a valuation. They should have preliminary numbers based on general facts about your home but will probably need to go through the home and sit down with you to discuss features that give your home that extra oomph. Not to mention, this would be a prime opportunity for you to tell them about the things you’ve done to make your home better, that may not be noticeable to someone who is just walking through, like that extra insulation you recently had put in your attic to bring the utility bills down. Communicating what you’ve done to your home helps your Realtor® make a more accurate assessment that typically cannot be done through an online estimator.
It’s probably redundant to point this out but it is invaluable for you, as a homeowner, to arm yourself with knowledge about your home so that you will know where you stand with regard to this lifetime investment that you’ve made. For those of you looking to improve your home (without over-improving), communication with your Realtor® about valuation can help you determine whether next summer’s plans for a master bathroom upgrade would be worth it and whether it would make sense both logistically and financially, to put in those heated floors you’ve always coveted. For those of you looking to sell in the immediate or near future, a valuation will help you know whether now is the right time to sell or if it may be prudent to wait six months to a year. Don’t feel pressured to make a decision, but do have all the facts that you need to make the best decision for you.
So what was the answer to how much is my home worth? Remember, “it depends”, but it will really depend on you, where you get your information from and who you talk to. Contact your local Realtor® today.
About the author, Christy Lim: Christy graduated with a Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law. Her areas of focus include residential and commercial real estate transactions, immigration and foreign investments and visas, and contract negotiations and alternative dispute resolution. Having over six years of real estate experience in Florida and having managed commercial properties for over fifteen years, throughout California, Florida and Texas, Christy brings forth a broad and diverse understanding of the complexities associated with the legal and real estate fields. Like what you read? Read another post by Christy, FAQs on Property Investment in Central Florida.