What to know when researching home prices

With online calculators, city and county appraisals, broker opinions, and more, there are a number of ways to determine the value of a home. But how much is a house really worth?

The short answer is simple: a house is worth as much as someone will pay for it. The long answer is more complicated; comparable properties, market trends, the economy, and even who you’re asking can all affect a home’s value.

Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or refinance, knowing a home’s value can provide you with important financial information. The following tips can help you when researching home prices.

  1. Talk to a local expert

One of the most reliable ways to determine a property’s value is by talking to a local real estate agent. Unlike an online calculator, an agent can combine their real-world knowledge of local market trends with your home’s unique quirks and perks to better inform the price.

  1. Check online listing sites

Online listing sites such as realtor.com or zillow.com can be a useful tool when researching real estate – including your own home. Most online sites include information from local, comparable properties such as average price per square foot, median listing price, and more. However, as with anything on the internet, it is important to take it with a grain of salt; while online listings sites can be a valuable tool, they may not have the most up-to-date information and may not provide the whole picture of a property.

  1. Use online price calculators

Online price calculators can be useful tools, particularly when attempting to determine the listing price for a home. Using data such as square footage and recent nearby sale prices, online calculators can generate an approximate value for your home.

While online calculators can be a useful starting point, they miss the nuance of market trends, home features, and more. Some have also been called out for being extremely inaccurate; Zillow’s Zestimate tool has been criticized by users and real estate professionals alike for its inaccurate online estimates.

Why home value is important

Knowing what a home is worth is about more than just buying and selling; refinancing, house insurance premiums, home equity credit, and property taxes are all based on estimated values. By taking the time to research a home’s price and value through multiple sources, you can feel confident knowing that you are buying – or selling – a home for what it is really worth.

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