How Much is My House Worth?
You might wonder how much home equity you have left. Whether you need to sell your house right away or you want to get a new low interest rate through refinancing your home or taking out a new line of credit.
Maybe you’ve done renovations on your home recently and you want to compare the old value of the home through tax records to what you estimate to be the new value. Whatever the reason, finding out a ballpark figure (or even a very precise and professional estimate) is not difficult. To figure out if the value of your house has dropped since the real estate, use one of these four methods.
1. Get a Free Online Estimate – Home Value Calculators
To get a quick and dirty estimate of the value of your home, you can use free real estate appraisal sites like Eppraisal.com or Zillow.com. These sites offer a rough estimate of your home’s value based on a basic analysis of appraisal and real estate information that is available to the general public. That means these sites use things like tax records and census information to estimate the value of your home. In some states, these type of free appraisal sites list the recent sale prices or even satellite photo images of recently sold homes.
Yes, these free sites will give you a big boost when you’re looking into the value of your real estate, but you have to remember that these sites are just starting points. You won’t get an accurate appraisal but at least you’ll have a ballpark figure of your house’s value in your head.
2. Use Online Appraisals For a Fee
More accurate information online is going to cost you. You really do get what you pay for, and in the case of the free appraisal sites above you aren’t paying a dime. Fee-based online real estate appraisal services, like ElectronicAppraiser.com, give you similar information to that found at the free sites, but way more accurate and loaded with extra features. You can download your specific property evaluation report for a small fee. Just like the free sites, these are real estate analyses based on information that you could gather yourself, so even the fee-based evaluation sites may only be worth the money if you’re using them as time savers. Your local tax assessor can give you the same kind of information through public documents they have on file. Why pay $30 for a report that you can get yourself for free?
One reason is that the fee-based report crams a ton of details into one easy to use piece of paper — the number of bedrooms and baths, recent sales prices, local census details, and even the quality and names of nearby schools.
3. Look at Real Estate “Comps”
A “Comp” is a “comparative market analysis”. These reports are put together by real estate agents and are basic estimates of the selling price for different houses. They are more informed guesses than the kind you can get from online evaluation sites — real estate agents know the area as well as different asking prices and sale prices for similar houses in your neighborhood.
Comps are really only useful if you plan on selling your house through a real estate agent or dealer. Comps don’t count toward securing a loan or any other credit line. In some states, you can ask a real estate agent to prepare these comp reports (for a small fee) even if you don’t list your home with that agent. In general, you’ll find that real estate agents don’t want to give away that information without earning the right to list your home.
4. Get a Home Appraisal
If you’re applying for a loan or other line of credit (or selling your home by yourself) you will need to get a full professional appraisal. This kind of appraisal will always be the most accurate evaluation of the value of your house. For people who have made renovations to their home since they bought it, a full professional real estate appraisal is a must — your home is now worth more thanks to your hard work, and you need to know just how much more.
Appraisals are far more detailed than real estate agent’s analyses because professional appraisers literally get out and look at the house to estimate square footage and other details, while most real estate agents just look up those details from public tax information.
When looking for a professional appraisal service, you need to use one that:
- -has a state certification in appraisal as well as an appraisal license.
- -has at least three years’ experience as an appraiser. No appraiser is allowed to work as a professional for the first two years while they are in training.
- -is a member of a professional organization like the Appraisal Institute.
Your professional real estate appraisal will set you back between $300 and $400. In some cases, especially if your house is large and requires extra time to appraise, you’ll be charged more. If it isn’t easy to find a comparable property, your appraiser may charge more to cover his research costs.
Depending on how much detail you need about the actual value of your house, you may be able to use a free online estimator. The purely curious may want to see how their house stacks up compared to the neighbors, and those free services are perfect for that. But if you need a hard estimate for any other purpose (like selling your home or opening a new line of credit) you’ll simply have to get a professional appraisal.
For more information related to how much is my house worth, see the following:
- How to Invest in Real Estate
- The Cheapest Homes in Mexico
- The Cheapest Homes in Canada
- Where to Find Cheap Homes for Sale
- Where to Find Mobile Homes for Sale