What’s My Home Worth

Once you decide the timing is right to sell your home, the first key step in the process is deciding the approximate value of the home, and setting a realistic listing price.  A real estate professional will prepare a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA report for you when they have had an opportunity to inspect your home and research the current market.

The first thing an agent will need to do to provide you with a CMA is to inspect your property. Usually, this inspection won’t be too detailed or time consuming (they won’t be going in the attic or inspecting the roof for example), nor does the house need to be totally cleaned up and ready for listing. It should be in such a condition that the agent will be able to make an accurate assessment of its condition and worth. If you plan to make changes or repairs before selling, inform the agent at this time, or have them completed prior to the agent’s visit.  Remodeling that has been done to your home, especially if it was performed by a licensed contractor who obtained the appropriate permits, can very much enhance the value of your property.

The next step is for the agent to research sales of comparable properties. This data is usually available through MLS (Multiple Listing Service). By looking at recently sold properties the agent can get an idea how much your property is worth in the current market. The CMA report should be quite detailed, and the agent who has prepared it should provide you with a complete written copy.  It should contain a detailed list, including addresses, of the houses that your property has been compared to.  It may even be a good idea for you to drive by some of the compared properties to get a feel for what houses in your area are selling for.  Please note that the CMA is not an appraisal. An appraisal must be performed by a licensed appraiser.

Sometimes owners will request a CMA when they are refinancing their house, when a spouse has died, or when they need and updated value for estate planning purposes.