Determining the value of your home

Contributing Columnist

How will we determine the value of our home in any given market?

Arriving at the best price for your home is the second most important task in the selling process—after selection of your realtor.  You and your realtor will have to match perceptions about the value of your home in today’s marketplace.

The real estate market, particularly the past few years, has been extremely dynamic both nationally and locally.

Longboat, Lido and Bird Key enjoy a strong fundamental when it comes to valuations — a limited universe of properties close or directly on the waterfront. And we are locally seeing the gradual shift from a buyer’s to seller’s market as this inventory becomes scarcer. That makes it  all the more critical that the realtor you work with not only knows your property and all the similar properties in your specific community, condo or neighborhood, but is watching the pricing and inventory trends on Longboat and surrounding areas day by day to ensure your pricing strategy is both realistic and effective.

The sale price your neighbor received for their home may or may not have anything to do with the current market value of your home. First, the realtor should examine the qualitative features of the home, which include value and appeal of finishes on the interior and exterior of the home. It also takes into account what makes this home special.

A quantitative analysis begins with finding comparable properties based on location, year built, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, water views, and size of the lot. Recent sales, properties active on the market or pending sales are the typical reference points in this analysis. This is generally referred to as a comparative market analysis (CMA) and is computer generated in most cases. The CMA is a starting point for estimating the market value of your home. Your realtor will make pricing adjustments between your home and those selected for comparison to give a more accurate qualitative and quantitative perspective.

A realtor familiar with your condo, community or neighborhood will use these factors as a basis in discussions.  Some owners have an inflated idea of the value of their home and this is not without reason. Individual improvements, sweat equity, the enjoyment they have derived over the years as well as personal preferences weigh into this estimate. However, the buyer may or may not see these as important or even desirable.

All sellers would like to get top dollar for their property. However, overpricing even with exceptional upgrades can reduce the number of knowledgeable realtors who will even show the home, particularly if there are seemingly comparable homes at a lower price. And, the longer a property is on the market, the more likely buyers will ask “what’s wrong with it?”

Major upgrades that have been made to update the home especially in kitchen and bath areas as well as newer appliances and air conditioning will play an important part in realistic pricing that generates a faster sale. The quality of the flooring and window treatments, cleanliness and the general condition of the home are often the first thing a buyer notices.

Features that would make the property more attractive before marketing are also considerations in pricing.  Be aware, however, that not all money spent on upgrades will boost the listing price.

In the end, the goal of your chosen realtor should be to sell your home for the greatest amount in the given market. But as easy as that sounds, getting that done takes experience coupled with an effective set of skills.

Sheldon Paley, a resident of Longboat Key for 20 years has been a realtor for 13 years who is now affiliated with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Prior to moving to Longboat Key he attended Ohio State University, U of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry and Harvard Medical School for 18 months for a degree in Implantation.

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