Home value is something that will always be important to homeowners, whether they are looking to sell a home or staying in their forever home. The more equity you have in your home, the better your interest rate when you refinance for lower monthly payments. Staying on top of your home’s value also allows you to always know what you can sell your home for when the time comes.
People ask Realtors® this question all the time: “What is the value of my home?” The short answer is a home is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. The long answer is it takes the advice of a professional real estate agent, relevant real estate comparisons, recent sales and a lender you can trust to find out your home value.
How to Calculate Market Value of Property
Market value is an estimate of what a home will sell for in a market that is typically calculated based on:
Features of a home
Overall real estate market
Supply and demand factors
What other properties have sold for with similar features and in the same condition
According to Michael Polly, president and managing broker for Royal Shell Real Estate, the best way to calculate market value of a property is by doing some comparing.
“Look at what other homes in your neighborhood are selling for,” Polly said. “Homeowners might be able to discern if their house has a pool and others don’t. Homeowners can make certain assumptions if they know their neighborhood well.”
But the best way to calculate market value of property is by getting the advice of a Realtor®.
How to Determine House Value with a Realtor®
You should ask for a broker opinion of value (BOV), which is also known as a Broker Price Opinion (BPO). This is an analysis put together by a trusted agent. The data should help you decide the listing price.
Polly said it's always important to ask your professional Realtor® to give you a broker opinion of value. This is the safest way to get a house value opinion by a real estate professional that knows your area well and the other sales in the neighborhood.
In essence, a Realtor® looks at the most recent sales in your neighborhood, compares the sales with the number of bedrooms, the views, location to normalize the data to provide you with an accurate opinion of value.
“It’s the best way to provide you with an apples to apples comparison to find relevant properties and then adjust them so they are exactly like the subject property. It takes an experienced and licensed professional to find your home’s true value,” Polly said.
How Often Should I Check My Home's Value?
You should check your home’s value at least once a year, according to Polly.
It’s helpful to do so, Polly said, for both those that are looking to sell their home and those that are staying in their home long term.
Property owners with mortgage insurance can keep apprised of when they might be able to remove the mortgage insurance, also known as PIP, or property insurance premium, from their bill.
“Those that have mortgages and have less than 20 percent equity in their homes pay mortgage insurance,” Poly said. The mortgage insurance is the bank’s way of protecting their investment in case you default on your home loan.
However, once you have more than 20 percent equity in your home, you can petition the bank to have the mortgage insurance removed from your payment.
“Once that is waived, there’s a significant monthly cost savings for the homeowner,” Polly said.
For those looking to sell their home, it’s even more important to stay on top of what your home is worth so you can have discussions with a real estate agent on what your listing price should be when it’s time to list your property.
How to Add Value to Your Home
There are many ways to add value to your home and there are also some ways you shouldn’t try to add value because it’s not worth your investment.
First and foremost, Polly said, the property needs to look fresh at all times. “We’re talking landscaping that is pristine and weeded flower beds,” Polly said.
And when people enter your home, it’s important they see clean rooms with freshly painted walls.
“The biggest impression is the first impression when they squeeze that doorknob,” Polly said. “They should see a decluttered house with no paint chipping on the walls.”
If you have a lot of stuff and you are trying to sell your house, Polly recommends renting a storage unit to put the stuff you don’t need.
“Make your home look as open as possible,” Polly said.
These days, it’s also important to also offer buyers an opportunity to see your home through a virtual tour.
How Can I Check the Value of My House?
There are so many different ways to check the value of your home. Using the help of online tools and the advice of a Realtor® helps you make an accurate assessment of your home’s value. Real estate agents can help you list a home, sell a home, refinance, use your home’s equity when you need it and even negotiate property taxes to get them lower.
You can utilize the following ways to find the value of your home:
Use Online Home Valuation Tools
There are so many online home valuation tools out there to help give you an idea what your property is worth. Also known as AVMs, which stand for automated valuation models, these tools are usually available on real estate sites like Zillow and Redfin.
These tools try to predict what a home is worth based on math modeling using public records data.
AVMS like Zillow, though, are not always accurate.
“Zillow is an algorithm estimate and nothing more,” Polly said. “When you need to get into the details of a neighborhood and what homes are worth, a Realtor®’s advice is crucial.” AVMs are not helpful for those looking to get home values for custom builds and other unique properties.
Utilize the FHFA House Price Index Calculator
A more accurate AVM that can give you a quick estimate of your home’s value is the Federal Housing Financing Agency’s house price index (HPI) calculator. The FHFA calculator tracks a property’s value by monitoring value from each sale, using the data to estimate fluctuating values in the current market.
This tool is not perfect though and does not reflect accurate sales for homes with a value of more than $800,000. It also doesn’t adjust seasonally or for inflation.
Ask For a Comparative Market Analysis
You can always ask a real estate agent for a comparative market analysis, also known as a CMA. A CMA will provide you with your home’s estimated value for listing. A CMA, though, is not as detailed or as accurate as what comparing relevant properties.
Read below to find out more about comparables and what they are.
Compare Nearby Relevant Properties
Recent sales in your neighborhood and comparing them to your home is the best way to come up with a reasonable idea of what your home is worth. Often called “comps” by real estate agents, comparable home sales are pulled by looking at homes in comparable size with comparable features.
In theory, you need at least three comps to come up with a good range of market value for your home. The more data will make the opinion of value more sound.
Hire a Professional Appraiser
Did you know that lenders require a professional appraisal before they approve a mortgage? As a seller, you can take matters into your own hands though and hire an appraiser to estimate the home value of your property any time you like. This comes in handy when you are selling your home, coming up with a listing price and want to disclose your appraisal to potential buyers.
Appraisers evaluate the following to come up with the current value of your home:
Comparable properties. Real estate agents look at recent sales, current listings and market factors in your neighborhood.
Market. Location, location, location is considered to price a home in the city and neighborhood where your property resides.
Property. Recent improvements to your house, unique characteristics and the price of the land your home sits on are evaluated.
What’s the Difference Between a Professional Appraisal and a Broker’s Opinion of Value?
A broker opinion of value, as described above, is less detailed than an appraisal. A BOV is used more at the beginning of the buying process to gauge what your home should sell for through preliminary data provided by a Realtor. A BOV is also cheaper than an appraisal.
An appraisal provides more detailed information and is typically performed after an offer has been made and accepted on a home. A seller, though, can also ask for an appraisal before they sell their home to help them make their listing decision.
What Increases Home Value?
What’s the biggest bang for your buck when attempting to increase home value? We have you covered with some suggestions below:
Beauty Over Construction Projects
Believe it or not, the best way to add beauty to your home to increase home value and attract buyer interest is to do the simple things. We are talking about the following:
Decluttering and staging a home
New plants and shrubbery out front
Fresh coat of paint on the front door
Pressure clean the front porch and lanai
Prioritize if You’re Planning a Construction Job
If it just makes sense to spend some money on a construction project to update a home and maximize your offers, then you have to plan accordingly. Don’t plan a massive project that you won’t get your money out of.
First think about what buyers want. That’s a nice kitchen and updated bathrooms. We recommend prioritizing these rooms first for remodeling in this order:
Bathrooms (two sinks in the main bathroom and a walk-in shower are important)
Kitchens (updated cabinets and newer appliances will get noticed)
Living and family rooms (updated fireplaces and built in shelving for storage are affordable renovations)
Energy Efficiency is a Major Plus
New appliances, a new air conditioner and even a new roof are major perks. Why? Buyers can see those savings in the form of lower electricity bills. Some other major energy efficiency items that will turn heads include:
Energy efficient and hurricane resistant windows
Energy efficient doors and sliders
Solar panels for pool heating and overflow electricity
Energy efficient lighting
New foam insulation in the ceiling to keep the house cooler and warmer
Smart thermometers and fire detectors
Sell and Buy a Home With Royal Shell Today
Did you know Royal Shell Real Estate has everything you need to get started with the home selling process? Our real estate agents are on standby waiting to help you make decisions on all of the home value advice we listed above. Royal Shell is the No. 1 Southwest Florida real estate agency you can trust with selling and buying a home in the sought after communities of Naples, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Fort Myers and more.
Royal Shell can get you started with a plan today by helping you find out what your home is worth. We also have the expertise and the tools you need to find out what your condo is worth and how to get your condo ready to sell.
We can help you find the perfect Florida home, choose the correct real estate agent and even help you map out a plan for buying a home as an investment. Take a look at everything we have to offer, which includes Naples real estate and Sanibel Island beach houses.