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How to determine the VALUE of your home?
The home is one of the most valuable marital assets, dividing the property between a couple in the throes of divorce can be a major source of contention. If you have other properties, such as a vacation home or investment properties, those will also have to be assessed and assigned a monetary value. In order to divide equitably, or equally, as the case may be, you will need to know the precise value of your property.
Knowing your home’s value allows you to evaluate what you can afford if you are considering on buying another one after the division of properties with your spouse.
The benefits of finding a home’s value don’t end with a purchase or sale: Refinances, Home Equity Line of Credit, Insurance Premiums and Annual Property Taxes are all based on home value.
Determining your home’s value means greater control over these processes. Property taxes are almost always open to appeal, for example. If you can prove an assessment is too high by pulling comps, you may be rewarded with a lower tax bill.
Here are several ways to know the value of your property:
1. Use online valuation tools
The AVMs used by lenders and real estate professionals are different. These tools use a “confidence score” to indicate how close the AVM provider thinks an estimate is to market value. A confidence score of 90% means the estimate is within 10% of market value, for example, though each AVM has its own way of calculating confidence.
You should always talk to a local real estate expert to get more insight into any online valuation.
2. Get a comparative market analysis
Though not as detailed as a professional appraisal, a CMA provides an agent’s evaluation of the home and market to provide an estimate of value, typically for listing purposes.
Local real estate agents may provide a CMA for little or no cost, however most of the time they may do so with hopes of being hired as your selling agent.
3. Use the House Price Index Calculator
If you’re wary of AVMs but still want a quick estimate of what your home is worth, the house price index or TRREB price index applies a more scientific approach. The tool uses the “repeat sales method”, an easy way to see how much your house may have appreciated over time.”
4. Hire a professional appraiser
Lenders require a home appraisal which will cost between $300-$400 before they will approve a mortgage, but as a property owner, you can hire an appraiser to estimate home value at any time. You need to indicate the purpose so that your property can be evaluated properly.
Among other things, appraisers evaluate:
- Market: The region, city and neighborhood in which a home is located.
- Property: Characteristics of the house, including improvements and the land it sits on.
- Comparable properties: Sales, listings, vacancies, cost, depreciation and other factors for similar houses in the same market.
5. Evaluate comparable properties
One thing appraisals and AVMs have in common is their reliance on the recent sale value of comparable properties, often called “comps.”
Pulling comps is one way to determine market value without paying an appraiser but use good judgment. Property sold next door doesn’t mean it’s a comp.
You must employ an “apples to apples” approach to choose the right comp. Think about which properties would interest a buyer if yours weren't available. Look for similar size, location, condition and upgrades.