What is Your Home Really Worth?

by Emily Guy Birken · 11 comments

If you are looking to sell or refinance, or are simply concerned about home values in your neighborhood, you probably want to determine the value of your house. This is a simple enough proposition, but the reality of establishing your home’s value can be complicated. Here are some ways to know what your house is worth—and how much that value has changed.

Check the Internet

There are several websites like zillow.com and eppraisal.com that will tell you the approximate value of your home, as well as track its increases and decreases in value over the past few years. If you are looking to sell your home, this information is invaluable as your buyer will undoubtedly also be looking up the internet appraisal value. These websites can also tell you the value of homes close by, which will also help you to decide on a sale price based upon the selling price of homes in your neighborhood.

Contact Your Local Tax Assessor

You have the right to look up the assessment of your property at your local tax assessor’s office, or often times, online. It’s a good idea to know the current value of your home according to the assessor as they do not do an appraisal every year. In fact, if you are in an area hard hit by the housing crisis, you may be paying taxes based on your home’s value at the top of the bubble. It might be worth your while to challenge the assessment. Saving on your tax bill could be a silver lining to the slumping market.

David’s Note: Actually, though few people seem to think this way, a declining housing market is good for current home owners because it lowers the cost of ownership.

Speak to an Expert

No one will have a better idea of what homes will sell for in your area than a knowledgeable agent. While real estate websites like Zillow can give you a basic idea of the worth of your home, only a real estate agent will know what the new roof and updated kitchen will do for the price.

If you simply want to know the worth of your house without putting it on the market, hire an appraiser. Appraisers are often licensed or certified, although the requirements vary by state. These individuals will take meticulous notes and photographs in order to determine the worth of your house and will be able to tell you exactly why your house is worth what they estimate. To find an appraiser, check out this site. You do want to be careful that you hire a credited appraiser, so do your homework.

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  • Thomas says:

    You have to know the value of your house and then you planned to buy and sell your house and it is worth.

  • Mr. Christopher says:

    These websites can also tell you the value of homes close by, which will also help you to decide on a sale price based upon the selling price of homes in your neighborhood.

  • Rick Mayhew says:

    Market Value is only known when the sale transaction is complete. Until then it’s a “best-guess-estimate.” Same thing with replacement cost value on your homeowners insurance policy. No one knows for sure what it will cost to replace your home completely (until you get a contractor to start rebuilding) but you have to make an estimate for insurance purposes. Since the earthquake in Japan just occurred, imagine what will happen to the cost of labor and materials as rebuilding begins. That kind of flux exists all the time in determining the building replacement cost value for your home. Better to allow a margin of safety when you deciding how much insurance to carry on your house.

  • dynn says:

    I always refer to the latest real estate classified in order for me to estimate the market price of the house.

  • Brad Jobs says:

    It is always good to know the value of your house even though you are not yet planning on selling it. Knowing the value of your house will give you an idea of how well or how bad your finances are. This is one of your asset which shall be compared with your liabilities.

  • Real Estate India says:

    I think valuation for home may be define on many factors.

    Govt Rates
    Local Rates
    Where you home located, I mean every area has his own identity. Like we really talk in freinds or family hai that area is very good, market is close, water availability is good , Secure etc.

  • Jenna says:

    Also talking to a realtor is a great way to find out how much your house is worth as well as get some tips on how to increase the value of your house.

    • Leonardo says:

      Unfortunately, there are some real estate agents who are only interested in getting a commission and will pay you lip service without doing very much to be helpful to the seller. This is not always the case, but there are some terrible agents out there.

  • MoneyNing says:

    Just like an investment that can go up and down in price, looking at how much it’s worth 24/7 is just a recipe for depression because prices will NEVER only go up. Buy a home you can afford, and enjoy the freedom without worrying about how much you paid for it and how much it’s worth all the time.

    • Lifeisdynamic says:

      Yes, that is very true, David – the property cycle has effects on property values and if buying to live in, certainly buy to suit your lifestyle and what you can afford. That said, however, life is dynamic and eventually most need/want to move house and can happen at any time. For this reason it is always a good idea to think about ‘what if I need to sell it?’ So some thought does need to be given to value after purchase therefore think in terms of investment when looking to buy. Certainly, having made the right choice (suits your life and pocket), live and be happy.

      When buying a home, have an eye towards these ideas in case you do need to sell and buy elsewhere and may ensure you leave the property which has kept pace with property value trends so as another home can be purchased when you sell: The right property – solid well maintained dwelling on a reasonable-sized block of land (the land is where the value is)- a view can mean steep terrain, but a pleasant view is a bonus; in an area where people want to live ie: has a variety of long-term employment in the area or near to; good infrastructure – shops, schools, banks, doctors and hospitals, good roads, good public transport system, sporting and lifestyle facilities. In other words an established area. This is after all, what most people are looking for when buying. The price is important – purchase at a fair price (not inflated). Buying in at a fair price hopefully means you will not lose money if you need to sell.

  • Money Beagle says:

    One side note that I think is important is to look at the ‘real’ value of your house. By this, I mean what would you end up with if you actually sold it? Most people overlook the fact that realtor fees will take 6% off the top of what you sell, plus you have transfer fees, home warranty costs, and other costs that come right out of the seller’s pocket. A $200,000 ‘sale’ might realistically net $185,000 after it’s all said and done. This is a big difference and I personally think people should use the ‘adjusted’ number when thinking about what their house is worth, but that’s up to each individual.

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