What is my home worth today?

An old adage in real estate is, “The market is the market,” but how is value determined in the real estate market? Over the course of the last several months, this column has provided analyses on actual results for the Marina and Cow Hollow. So, how does one determine the value of real estate? This is an interesting conundrum for real estate agents and sellers. However, sales value can be determined by knowing the market: what’s occurring with comparable properties; determining if property values are going up, staying flat, or moving down; and determining the additional value when considering remodeled rooms, like kitchens and bathrooms, or additional upgrades.

What about a pristine home with original owners that have had no upgrades over a 50-year period? How does that come into play?

By looking through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a real estate agent can do a comparative market analysis for sellers and this is where comparable properties come into play. For example, let’s consider a Marina neighborhood two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo that has a deeded parking spot. Additional considerations are lot size and square footage of the home. The MLS can be accessed to determine what kind of activity has existed over the last six months for properties that have these specific criteria. The agent needs to have knowledge of the comparable properties that have recently sold and how they compare with the unit that is considered being brought to market. This is accomplished by

the agent viewing properties as they come to market via viewing days specifically scheduled for agents.

This brings in another important attribute of value – the overall condition of the home. This is key in determining the present value of a potential property to be sold and is valuable information when provided to the seller. This also allows the agent to discuss pricing of the home with the seller.

The agent’s task is to explain to the seller the importance of pricing the property reflective of today’s market value. The bottom line here is that properties priced within an accurate market range generate more showings and offers and sell in a shorter period of time. Properties priced too high have a difficult time selling. The market right now is very fickle. An unfortunate occurrence in today’s market is that sometimes property that is priced incorrectly ends up selling below market value. Strange, but true. This can be distressing for all parties concerned. So, by pricing a home at market value, the home is exposed to a much greater pool of prospective buyers. This increases the chances for a sale while ensuring a final sale price that properly reflects the market value of a home.

Determining estimate home value can be a fun process. If you’d like to determine the market value of your home, please let me know and I will provide you the information you need to do so.

Jim O’Neil is a Realtor for Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate at 2200 Union Street and has lived in Cow Hollow for the past 20 years. He has earned his SFR, which is the short sale and foreclosure resource designation.E-mail: