Friday, December 4, 2009

What is my house really worth!

It often is difficult for homeowners to objectively value their homes, which often reflects their sense of personal style. However, by consulting with a REALTOR®, using online resources, investigating neighborhood trends, and soliciting the opinion of friends, homeowners can arrive at a reasonably accurate appraisal.


  • REALTORS® and real estate appraisers are the best sources of information on current market conditions. Consumers should begin the home valuation process by consulting with their REALTOR® or a local real estate appraiser. REALTORS® can provide homeowners with a list of homes that recently have sold in the area, and use that data to help determine the most accurate and competitive price for the home.

  • Homeowners also can contact their local tax assessor’s or county clerk’s office, many of which post real estate transactions on their Web site. The records will indicate what properties have recently sold in the neighborhood and the respective sales prices. Consumers should look for homes that have sold within the last six months for a more accurate picture of current market conditions.

  • Online sites such as and also provide free online home value estimators. Consumers should be aware though that these sites derive some of their information from public records, including tax appraisals, and are subject to error.

  • Some real estate experts recommend homeowners attend nearby open houses to see how their homes compare in size and amenities.

  • Consumers also can consult the Marshall & Swift Residential Cost Handbook, which professional appraisers use to assess the value of features such as fireplaces, three-car garages, and the like. The handbook costs $300 and is available in some business school libraries. An online site,, enables homeowners to conduct an item-by-item calculation of the value of the home. Online sites and books only should be used as guidelines though, and homeowners are advised to contact a real estate professional to help determine the current value of their home.

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