Finding the Prices of Homes Sold In My Neighborhood
Planning to sell your house soon? If so, it’s a good time to start researching your local housing market. For starters, you want to know what similar homes have sold for recently, in the same area where you live. This is the starting point for any home pricing strategy. Here’s how to go about it.
Finding Comparable Sales, or ‘Comps’
If you’re using an agent, he or she will help you determine the asking price for your home. To do this, the agent will review the prices of homes recently sold in your neighborhood — particularly, homes that are similar to yours. These are known as “comps,” which is short for comparable homes.
If the agent is experienced, he or she will also factor in whatever upgrades you’ve done to your home (new cabinets, a new deck, curb appeal, swimming pool, etc.). All of these things add value, so they must be considered as part of a broader pricing strategy.
If you are selling the house on your own, you’ll have to do this homework for yourself. But the source of your research will be the same. You will still use the prices of homes sold in your area as the starting point for your own pricing strategy. You can find this information on any real estate listings website, such as Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia.
The pricing data you look at should be (A) as recent as possible, (B) geographically close to you, and (C) related to homes that are similar to yours. These are the three qualities of a good comp.
Having the Home Appraised
If you’re just doing some casual research out of mere curiosity, you can use a home value website to see what homes are selling for in your area. These websites use recent sales data that is publicly available, but they present it through an interactive map that’s easy (and sometimes fun) to use.
If you’re doing in-depth research because you actually plan to sell the home, then you might want to consider having a professional appraisal done. When a licensed appraiser visits the house to evaluate it, he can do something that a home value website cannot. He can account for upgrades, location, scenic views, condition of the property, etc. He will also examine recent sales data for your area. This will give you a more accurate picture of your home’s value — more accurate than any of the home value websites.
A website can only give you the prices for homes that have sold recently, but it can’t tell you how that data applies to your property. The old saying holds true: you get what you pay for.
As a homeowner, you probably have an emotional connection to your house. That’s only natural. But if you are going to sell your house, you need to detach those emotions when setting the asking price. You must base your asking price on current market values, backed up by sales data and other information. So take a look at what homes have sold for recently in the local area. That’s your starting point.