How Much is My Home Really Worth? Ask Your Buyer

You may be thinking of refinancing or selling your Los Angeles home. Are you wondering what it is worth these days?

Well, for refinancing an appraiser is the one who will determine the value, but if you are thinking of selling your home then it is only going to be worth what a buyer is willing to pay.

The first step in pricing your home for a listing is for your real estate agent to present you with a comparable market analysis (CMA), sales of comparable homes in the immediate area, or if none are available then as close as possible to your home.

But I can find the same thing on Zillow, isn’t it called a “Zestimate”. Yes you can, but the operative part of that  is “estimate”.  Zillow simply gathers information based on home sales in your area with no regard to condition, location on the street or any number of other factors.

Your Realtor® will provide you with an accurate listing price based on comparing your home with those from the CMA. Among the factors they will consider are:

  • Home size
  • Lot size
  • Condition
  • Any upgrades you might have done
  • Room count
  • Amenities – pool, garage, guest house, etc.
  • Permitted vs non-permitted structures
  • Location on street
  • Curb appeal

Once these are determined your Realtor® will set the list price which will be presented to buyers. And understand, buyers and their agents have access to the same information as your listing agent, so they will expect to pay no more than a similar home which sold recently nearby, and may still want to try and get themselves a “deal”.

We are still short of home inventory in Los Angeles, but it has settled down somewhat from the crazy multiple offer-fest of the past year or two. At that time buyers were scrambling to find a home and some did not care what they paid. Prices went up. Homes were selling over-asking and the appraisals seemed to keep up somewhat. Also cash buyers were ruling the roost and had little concern for the actual value.  Buyers were setting the value of the homes.

So, the worth of your home in a sellers’ market is going to be more than in a buyers’ market. Hence there is an art to pricing your home realistically to find a realistic buyer.

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