Tips on making a home appraisal work for you

October 16, 2014

Anyone who’s ever tried to sell a house knows all about the influence of supply and demand. In fact, the real estate market can fluctuate wildly even from one year to the next. So, how do you go about assessing the market value of your house or your condo without making a mistake? Sure, your bank will have an opinion on the subject, as will the real estate agent, but you can do some of the homework yourself.

Tips on making a home appraisal work for you

Keeping up with the neighbours

The best way to tackle a home appraisal is to compare your home with comparable properties that were sold recently in your area. Look for the houses with the most similarities to your own in terms of style and lot size. This type of comparison can be carried out with the use of Internet sites that classify real estate sales figures by region or by city.

Simply relying only on your municipal assessment to find the true market value of your property isn’t the best method. A considerable amount of time may pass between the municipal assessment and the moment when you list your property on the market. Given that the real estate market evolves quickly, you’ll be much better off analyzing recent sales.

Building on its assets

Once you’ve identified three or four properties that are similar to your home, examine all the criteria that make those properties attractive and market-worthy.

  • Is your lot size larger?
  • Is there a swimming pool included in the sale?
  • Have you done any renovations recently?
  • Does the property boast other assets such as a garage, fireplace or landscaped yard?
  • Are there urban amenities and services nearby?
  • What year was the house built?

Generally, there is a four- to eight per cent difference between the asking price and the actual sale price; you’ll need to take that into account when you do your home appraisal. To figure out in advance how far you’re prepared to go in your negotiations, factor in all the fees related to the sale. Don’t forget to include your mortgage, notary fees and the real estate agent’s commission. Then set the minimal amount below which you’d rather not sell.

Think big, but not too big

Be careful not to aim too high. When the asking price is high to begin with, and the property remains on the market for too long, potential buyers become wary; they may think there’s a problem with the property. Once that pattern is established, it can become much more difficult to sell, even if you lower your price.

Getting help

Selling your home with the help of a real estate broker or bringing in a chartered appraiser do assess your home’s value isn’t a bad idea. If you decide to do business with either, request a written report of the appraisal so you have proof of your valuation.

Good luck!

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