The Proper Way To Decide Property Values In The Present Day's Market

In the present day's market where there are so many foreclosure and bank REO sales, working out the true value of investment property can be tricky. The equivalent sales strategy is the most commonly used? And still the most accurate one? To figure out the price of single-family homes, condominiums and smaller multi-unit properties (2 to 4 units).

Start by researching information regarding sold properties on your local government internet sites for your selected area. Many tax assessor's offices and county court-houses offer searchable online databases that permit you to view the costs for properties inside a specific area. They usually list comprehensive details about the properties, including square footage. And, subscriber websites like Electronic Valuer ( give you detailed information, especially in areas where online data is scarce.

Free websites like also offer property info, but the data is less detailed than the paid sites. As an example, the seller's name may be missing, which might be applicable if the seller was a bank, as in the case of a forced sale. If that is the case, it cannot be considered an analogous sale as the property was sold in trouble.

Be careful about using websites that supply a computer generated valuation. These are called automated valuation models (AVMs), which aggregate sales information from similar properties to determine an approximate price. While AVMs could be a baseline for judging value , they can be off by as much as 10% or even more. With a little research, you can highlight the price to as near as 3 to 5 p.c.

The most useful computer database for getting information regarding comparable properties is the local MLS. This database shows the quantity of days on market and includes points out that indicate whether the property was updated, whether the seller offered concessions on the sale and so on. This additional info is generally not available through other sources, so asking a real estate agent or valuer to help will be vital, because most MLS systems aren't accessible to the public.

While many things come into action when you're evaluating a residential property's worth by "comps" (analogous sales), the three key factors are location, size (square footage) of the home and the quantity of bedrooms and bathrooms. Glaringly, you'll need to look at many other aspects before it is possible to pin down the precise value of a property, but these are the "big three" You should be able to look at similar sales concerning properties with these 3 factors and get an excellent idea of the value of the property you're selling


Location is critical when you are comparing sold holdings. A professional appraiser typically examines houses inside an one-mile radius or less, and so should you. In the case of a subdivision? Where the houses are all similar and built in the same time period. You need to compare similar houses with similar styles in the same subdivision to get a precise valuation. If there is a wide mixture of properties in the subdivision, you might need to go outside of it to get analogous sales. Just be careful with "dividing lines" Geographic lines such as opposite sides of the brook, the park, or a main highway can be invisible dividing lines that put the property in another school district and may not collect equitable comps.

Sq Footage

When determining a home's price, be totally certain to evaluate the sq footage. Note that reviewers generally look at houses that are within 20% down or up in square footage as comparables. Usually (especially within a subdivision), most homes fall inside a fairly limited size range. Therefore , you may be able to develop a good gauge for the selling cost of houses in those particular sizes.

Naturally, not all square footage is made equal. Most people think that if a house has 1,000 square feet and is worth $100,000, then the 1,100 square-foot house next door would be worth $110,000. Wrong! The extra 10% in sq footage equals just a few % points in worth. If these 2 homes offer the same location, style, and number of bedrooms and baths, the 10% additional square footage will not change the valuation much. Why? Because there's a fixed cost on a place based mostly on the value of the land, cost of. Construction, sewer, subdivision plans and other considerations. An additional couple of hundred feet of space involves little cost? Only wood, nails, carpet and doubtless some insignificant electrical and plumbing costs.


The number of bathrooms and bedrooms is more important than just the raw square footage. Put simply, a three-bedroom home with 1,200 square feet could be worth more than a two-bedroom home with 1,250 square feet. It also matters where the bedrooms and loos are located? On the key floor or the basement. While finished basements can add value , the amount of that value is less than it is for above-ground living areas. And, this greatly varies depending on different regions of the country. In damp areas, below-ground living space isn't as valuable to homeowners as in dryer areas of the country.

To ascertain a home's price using comps, also look at the quality and number of bedrooms and lavatories. Three-bedroom homes are sometimes a large plus over two-bedroom houses, but 4 or five-bedroom houses don't add as much over a three-bedroom if they're about the same size in sq footage. Similarly, two bathrooms is a gigantic and over one bathroom, but three or more don't add as much worth.

When comparing bathrooms, ensure you understand the differing types of bathrooms and check them in the correct way. A full bathroom encompasses a shower, bath, toilet and sink. A three-quarter bath has a shower but no tub, plus a toilet and sink. A half bath has a toilet and sink but no tub or shower. A three-quarter- or full-bath create roughly an equal value, particularly if another bathroom in the house has a tub. A half bath has less value unless there are sufficient other loos in the house. Additionally , a five-piece bath (separate shower and tub) generally wouldn't add increased value over a regular full bathroom with a combo shower and tub.

Other Things

There are other factors to consider that affect the cost of a home, but generally you'd give these less weight than the location, number and size of bedrooms and bathrooms. Some houses have one-car or two-car garages, some have carports and others have neither. The garage factors in some value , dependent on the rest of the neighborhood. For example, if the neighborhood comps all have two-car garages, this could affect value as much as 10% on the topic property if it only has an one-car garage or no garage. Nonetheless if the houses are all tiny and there's a mix of garage options, the garage will not be as big an issue. Similarly, a four-car garage in a three-car-garage-neighborhood probably will not count for much either. One exception is with condominium developments. Parking spots or garages are sometimes sold with condominiums and can have serious value particularly in sizeable cities where parking is limited to the street.

As well as taking a look at properties sold in your target zone, you want to have a look at properties that are for sale. While prices are not sold prices, it'll give you an idea where your local marketplace is heading? Down or up. Additionally , take into account that if your plan is to flip the property, the properties for sale are your direct competition and thus the requested prices are extraordinarily relevant. As an example, if you find properties that have sold for $150,000 but the current inventory on the market is prices at $140,000, the listed prices of your competition become just as topical, if not more, as the sold prices of other homes.

If you regularly invest in the same neighborhood, take time to build yourself a "due diligence" Notebook of properties that have sold, are under contract and are for sale in your area. Have your realtor check the MLS each week for new listings and sold properties so that your information is consistently up to date. Remember, you're only as good as your data, and the more info you have, the more correct your values will be!

[Author's note: View our new Better Business Bureau review.]

Marco Santarelli is an investor, author and founder behind Norada Real Estate Investments — countrywide real-estate investment firm providing turnkey investment property in expansion markets around the US. For more articles like Ways to Define Property Values in The present day's Market, please feel free to visit our Real EstateI Investing Blog where it was originally published.