How to Determine Home Value and Why It Matters

The better you understand the fundamentals of home values, the better prepared you are to benefit from appreciation in your home and finance the purchase of more costly items. With your home value figured out, you can make better financial decisions about your property and put aside money to make a bigger down payment. Finding home value on your own will likely require greater research, but it can ultimately provide a better understanding of your financial situation and be a useful asset for your financial future.

Here are some tools to help you gauge your value. The tools available depend on the region of the country you live in, the kind of home you own, whether you’re buying or selling and whether the information comes from the federal government, a private company, or a source other than the website of the U.S. Census Bureau. Estimator tools to help Home Value Assessment Estimator tools to estimate home value if you don’t live in the city The HPI: How Homes and Houses Sold Around the U.S. Were Priced By the HPI is a tool developed by the National Association of Realtors. It allows you to get a graphical view of home values by sorting the map by ZIP code and state. Type in the ZIP code or choose “close-in” or “wide area” neighborhoods to narrow your search. The map provides a visual comparison of homes around the country. Click on the buttons at the top to view more detailed maps. The tool is not yet available in the calculator.

Using Home Value Calculator The traditional old-fashioned way to determine home value is to get an estimate from a professional assessor or, if you’re not comfortable doing this, contact a local real estate agent or local county tax assessor. The best value is found by checking a simple questionnaire: How much is your home worth? How much does it cost to maintain? Can you afford to sell your home? Are the conditions you find attractive enough to stay in it? Use the calculator to get an honest assessment of your home worth. If you can get an estimate by a local real estate agent or County Tax Assessor, that is great. But remember that the real estate market varies widely by region. Be sure you’re comfortable with the idea of getting an unbiased estimate. Start by picking a reasonable region to use, which in most areas is represented by the CountyCity tax bracket size.

The first uses Google Trends to analyze the search volume for search terms related to your property. The second uses Cached to locate all home listings within a 250-square-mile area. Search volume can take different forms, but if you’re curious about the market for a particular area, Google Trends is a simple and straightforward way to gauge interest in a property. Don’t expect Google Trends to provide an exact estimate of the market value of your home, however. Instead, expect a high number for the average price based on current market trends. Cached is a very similar tool, though it works primarily in Europe and Asia. To find listing information, enter a city, state and country, then click “Cached Listings” and you can see which listings are currently available for sale in that citystate or country.

Redfin’s property evaluation tool, which evaluates the value of different types of real estate by calculating cost, market, cash flow, maintenance and homeownership percentage, market performance in the past few years, occupancy rate and mortgage interest rates. It doesn’t look at trends, but it can give a good idea of your typical spending and usage patterns.

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