Real Estate is Easy: How much is my house worth?

"How much is my house worth?” This is the number one question sellers ask Realtors.

“How much is my house worth?” This is the number one question sellers ask Realtors. It’s one of the most important questions that needs to be answered as well. Any complete marketing plan will include price as one of the most important factors. We all know there are houses out there that are asking a bit more and that’s OK. Perhaps a seller isn’t in a hurry and the client and their agent have agreed to “test the market.” When you own something, it’s your right to ask for it what you like, just as it’s a buyer’s right to pay what they will.

While setting a price, we have to keep in mind that buyers have access to information these days like they’ve never had before. There is an overwhelming amount of information available from tax records to sale prices and listing histories and so on. They’ll be comparing your home to every other house out there so you better make sure you’ve got a good price and the data to back it up if you want to sell.

Pricing a home without the proper information can be a downward spiral. Listings that sit on the market for long periods of time create long-standing inventory and this type of listing can have some negative effects on buyer confidence and eventually lead to fewer sales, which puts pressure on pricing for everyone as sellers drop their prices to compete for buyers.

Let’s say you want to sell your house, so you start thinking about what it might be worth. You notice the house down the street is listed. You’ve been in it a few times and you think you have a pretty good idea of how much your home is worth compared to it. A couple quick calculations for your rose-patterned wallpaper and bonus carpet in the bathroom and voila — there’s your price! You’re confident because the features you’ve got are things a buyer is going to love. Are you priced fairly? The answer is maybe.

I’ve worked with sellers and we often agree on price, but the steps I take to get there are different. Just understanding your home’s features compared to others isn’t enough. You’ve got to understand what buyers are looking for as well, things like what features make them put pen to paper, and does your home have these compared to the other listings? Are there things you can do to the house to increase its value in the eyes of a buyer? Understanding value in the eyes of the buyers is key.

I know, I know.  Real Estate is easy and sometimes it seems like everyone’s an expert, but the best thing that can happen when you’re figuring out the market value of your home is to get someone to help you who has no emotional attachment to the property, who knows what buyers in your area are looking for, and who has a good understanding of what features are worth in the current market.

*This column is for entertainment only and not intended to be construed as advice in any way. Information should be independently verified and all sellers and buyers are encouraged to contact their Realtor for help with buying and selling. This is not intended to solicit business. No kittens were harmed in the writing of this column.

Geoff Hill is a licensed Realtor with MaxWell Realty Invermere holding a trading services licence since May 2008. Originating from West Vancouver, he came to the valley for the snow and stayed for the people and lifestyle. Geoff enjoys volunteering with the local fire department and roller derby team as well as playing roller derby and many other sports himself.