How much is my home worth

how to price your home just right

Many homeowners in San Francisco are scrambling right now to determine how much their house is worth. Why the mad dash? March 31st is the deadline to ask the city to consider lowering your home’s assessed value for the fiscal year 2010-2011.

Whether you live in San Francisco or elsewhere, it’s always smart to have a ballpark idea of your home’s current value. Aside from putting your home on the market, there’s really no way of knowing its exact value. But the following steps will help you get an idea.

1. Get a Zestimate., which I’ve written about before, is a good way to get a general, though not always precise, idea of your home’s market value. You can also ask to show you the current value of similar, nearby properties recently sold.

2. Check out open houses in your neighborhood. A home’s asking price isn’t usually the same as its price when sold, of course. Still, you can get a sense of your home’s market value from touring nearby open houses, especially if the home is somewhat similar to yours (in square footage, views, number of bedrooms, and so on).

3. Ask for a Comparative Market Analysis. Any Realtor would be willing to provide you a CMA of your home. CMAs can vary in detail and length, but the goal is to come up with your home’s estimated current market value based on comps, or similar properties, that recently sold in your neighborhood. Ask your Realtor for about 10 comps, to give you a wide sampling.

4. Have your home appraised. Appraisals cost money, usually several hundred dollars, so my advice is to try the first three steps first. However, sometimes appraisals are required, such as when you want to re-finance.

Next steps

Visit the San Francisco Office of the Assessor-Recorder Web site to learn more about how to apply for a reassessment of your home.

Check out a Channel 5 news segment I appeared in about lower home values and property tax appeals.

Also, HGTV’s My House is Worth What? (which I’ve also appeared on) shows how renovations can affect the value of homes in various markets around the country.

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