Complete the Questionnaire after the information for a free comparative market analysis of your home.

Read about How Home Value is Determined - and How You Can Prevent Pitfalls

When you are ready to sell, buy, or refinance, home values becomes very import. It is essential to be sure of the value before listing, before offering, and before apply for a refinance loan. There are three popular ways to determine home value. The most important number in this process is the square footage, aka the currency of real estate. Not only accurate square of the "subject home" then one being listed or purchased, but also of the ones being compared to. The only way to know if there is an obvious error in a comparable is to actually look at the records - photos and floor plans where available.

Comparative Market Analysis, CMA  FREE by most Agents - some even make adjustments other present unadjusted. 

The most popular method is a Comparative Market Analysis, a CMA. The first number reviewed is the square footage. Then find Comparables (most like homes in the neighborhood) generally sold in the last 90 days. As the tax office estimates square footage and obtains bulk data at times, the actual square footage used by the The most accurate is the appraisal.

Comprehensive CMA prepared by a Price Strategy Advisor for Listing utilizing  a Certified Home Measurement Specialist. 

1. Use the Basic CMA to start 

2. Square footage Verification using ANSI standard by a Certified Home Measurement Specialist or Appraiser - The first step I do after taking a listing is verify the square footage and prepare a floor plan for marketing. This number  - the square footage - is the currency of real estate. Regardless is the home is valued at $50 a square foot or $400 a square foot - each square foot counts. Every calculation throughout the valuation is based on this number. It must be accurate.

I use ANSI standards for specific reasons:

a. Your advertised square footage to be accurate. False Advertisement of the wrong square footage leads to lawsuits, confusion and at least one person on the loosing end.

b. Your advertised square footage should match the appraiser calculations, again - this is the currency of real estate. The appraiser will calculate the square footage and use that figure to value the home after adjusting various key factors of other sold homes. This value is used by the lender to determine if they will finance the home based on the terms. KEY POINT - the appraisal and the lender do not work FOR the buyer to verify MLS, advertising or other points. The lender is not going to verify the square footage on the MLS is the same as the square footage on the appraisal -that is not their purpose in obtaining the appraisal or their responsibility. The buyer's agent may also never see the figures that calculated the appraiser's value as the appraisal belongs to the lender. The seller and buyer should be aware of the accuracy of the square footage of the home they are negotiating and contracting on. 

c. For uniformity and for a common language. 

3. This is where a Pricing Strategy Advisor becomes important. A PSA will verify current listings as competition and sold as comparisons. Records may not reflect special deals with home sales such as distressed sales, seller contributions, or condition without knowing the home sales and the area sales. These can change a home value significantly - consider when owners contribution to the closing cost or include high quality, new appliances. 

An example would be on some automatic value determination sites,  you see the home sold for $350000. You wont see the seller paid $20000 in closing costs and left $5000 in appliances. The house value is really $325000. By reviewing how inaccurate some of these sites are, which I can show you that on their own site, you will realize the wise way to value you home is a proper pricing strategy that can provide you the most accurate offer or list price. 

Typically, the comparison of homes that are most similar will make for the best value estimate and listing recommendation making as little adjustments as possible. Knowing the local area adjustments is very important as you don't want to over adjust for differences. This may not be easy and computerized programs cannot do this task.  There may not be three or four with exactly the same situation - bedrooms, with or without garage (size, attached, detached), pool (above ground, built in), chimney(s), quality of build (fixer upper, complete remodel with modern appliances).

Square footage, characteristics, bonus rooms and outbuildings, condition all play a role in each property used to compare. Local, human knowledge is a must for a proper pricing strategy. 

Computerized / Automated Valuation 

These systems can provide a wide range ballpark and are often free. These have two great purposes.

When to use an AVM. 

One - an idea of home value within about 15% when a general idea is needed, but these decisions will not have a financial impact or to keep up with an idea of the market over time. 

Two - Refinancing. These are great for refinance situations where ownership is not actually changing. Generally, the banks look for  80% 20% value on the loan, which reduces the lender from going in too deep with the lending. 

These do not have a risk of financial harm to a seller. Zillow is a great example of AVM simply estimating based on public records and often a house in proximity to the subject house - rather than accurate records and the most compatible comparisons.  

When not to use an AVM.

However, for a listing, this does not offer an accurate evaluation for obvious reasons - they cannot provide major information. For a buyer, this not verify the buyer is making a reasonable offer. Both parties are at risk. The property may not appraise. 

This is the least accurate for various reasons, sometimes off by tens of thousands, but can still give a wide ballpark figure. This uses combinations of often unchecked public records and homes that are in the proximately to the home being evaluated rather than the most comparable. These leaves room for a great deal of error when it is time for the offers to come in by an experienced agent and/or the appraisal that seeks accurate comparations.  


Home Value Request - Comparative Market Analysis, CMA

Please put your name on each different questionnaire. Thank you.

Rica J Gilmore,  Realtor®, GRI  144 Shoe Lane, Newport News, VA 23606 1-757-932-7422 VA #0225235314  NC#305512


The Virtual Realty Group, 10776 Harry Byrd Hwy, Berryville, VA 22611. Main office: 8116 Arlington Blvd, Ste 115, Falls Church, VA 22042 Telephone 1-888-407-2410 

The listings data displayed on this medium comes in part from the Central Virginia Regional MLS, (CVR MLS) and has been authorized by participating listing Broker Members of Central Virginia Regional MLS, (CVR MLS) for display. Central Virginia Regional MLS, (CVR MLS)  listings are based upon Data submitted by its Broker Members, and Central Virginia Regional MLS, (CVR MLS) therefore makes no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy of the Data. All users of Central Virginia Regional MLS, (CVR MLS) listings database should confirm the accuracy of the listing information directly with the listing agent.

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