If you’re a homeowner wondering, “What is my house worth right now?” getting an accurate valuation is key when selling or leveraging equity in your property. But determining the precise real estate value is both an art and a science.
What is my house worth?
While online home value estimators can provide ballpark figures, speaking with a local real estate professional, who can prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA), will give you the best assessment based on market comparables and your home’s unique characteristics.
Factors That Influence Your House Value
Many elements impact what a house is truly worth on the open market.
8 key factors appraisers and agents evaluate:
- Location – Neighborhood, amenities, curb appeal, school district, noise levels and crime rate affect desirability and value.
- Property type – Valuations differ for single family, condo, townhome, multi-family and other property configurations based on demand.
- Square footage – Total size including any finished basement, additions or unused spaces adds or reduces value.
- Bedrooms/bathrooms – More beds and baths proportionately increase home value but with diminishing returns.
- Age and condition – Older homes or those needing significant repairs or updates will appraise for less.
- Materials and finishes – Luxury materials, custom work and high-end finishes boost valuations.
- Special features – A pool, outdoor kitchen, workshop or bonus spaces add value.
- Land value – Property size, landscaping, outdoor structures and front curb appeal matter.
Accurately weighing all these factors takes local market expertise. Online calculators miss nuances that real estate professionals consider.
1. Get a Comparative Market Analysis from an Agent
For the most accurate picture of current value, connect with a trusted local real estate agent to conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA).
Here’s how it works:
- The agent will tour and photograph your home to fully understand the layout, condition and features.
- They research recent sales of similar nearby homes – square footage, beds, baths, property type, etc.
- List prices and sale prices are noted, along with differences compared to your home.
- Adjustments are made to account for variations between the comparable properties and your home.
- This analysis results in a fair market value range and likely listing price if selling.
A comparative market analysis from an experienced local agent provides the greatest accuracy since they regularly track area sales, inventory, trends and buyer demand.
2. Consider an Appraisal from a Licensed Appraiser
For an objective third-party valuation, a licensed independent appraiser can survey your property and provide an in-depth appraisal report. Get references to find a reputable local appraiser.
In the report, the appraiser documents the home’s specifics and comparable property research, then uses formulas and valuation models to determine fair market value. This is the report that lenders order for financing purposes to establish the current value.
You can also contact Adler & Herbach – The exclusive residential real estate attorney firm serving Cook County. We can connect you with the best real estate agents and appraisers in the city.
3. Online Home Value Estimators
While free online tools like Zillow’s Zestimate and Redfin’s Estimate provide general ballpark figures, take them with a grain of salt. Automated valuations lack local insight and can be off by tens of thousands. But they offer a starting point.
No matter which valuation method you use, these core elements make the strongest impact on your home’s fair market value: Location of the house, condition and overall age of the house, its size in square feet, number of bedrooms/bathrooms and the attributes of the house such as pools, outdoor kitchen etc.
Understanding what the most influential value components are, helps you make smart home improvements and accurately assess your home’s worth when considering selling or refinancing.
Get Started Determining Your Home’s Current Value
Whether selling soon or just curious about what your house is worth today, combining the local expertise of a real estate agent, the objective data from an appraiser, and general guidance from online tools will give you an accurate picture. This sets pricing and strategy for your goals.