Here’s a great article from loan officer Susan Lipston on Knowing Your Home’s Value. Read on for more info. on selling your home, refinancing your home, making home improvements and reassessing your taxes:
Knowing Your Home’s Value
Your home is one of your most important investments and financial assets, but do you know its value? If you hesitate to answer, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Even if you’re not trying to sell right now, there are other reasons that you may want to know your home’s market value. And knowing this number can help you move quickly when it’s time to make a decision about any of the following actions.
Selling your home.
There might come a time when you need to sell your home. You might get offered an out-of-state job opportunity, determine it makes financial sense to downsize, or need to look for a larger home if your family is expanding. If you are ready to buy another home, your current home’s value can narrow down your options for your new purchase, and I can show you the financing options that will be available to you. Knowing your home’s market worth would certainly help you make an informed decision, and put you in a position to more quickly respond.
Refinancing your home.
There are a number of reasons to refinance. For instance, you might be able to finally tap into current low rates, or you might desire better terms. You can find out if you will qualify for a traditional refinancing program or if you may be eligible for the HARP II refinance program, which allows homeowners who owe more than their home is worth to restructure their loans into more stable products with a lower rate. Until you know your home’s value, you won’t know how advantageous or disadvantageous a refinance would be from a financial perspective. I’d be happy to assist you in exploring whether refinancing makes financial sense for your unique situation.
Making home improvements.
While you might have mulled over how home improvements, such as a bathroom makeover, new countertops, or perhaps an addition, could improve your enjoyment of your home and mused at what additional value they might bring, you really don’t know until you’re aware of your home’s value. Check what other homes in your areas have sold for, and pay particularly close attention to any sold properties that had upgrades similar to or the same as yours in relation to those that don’t. Once you get an idea of what your home might sell for, you can see if the upgrades you are considering are worth the expense, or if you might want to go with a more cost-effective option.
Reassessing your taxes.
Your county assessor’s office reviews property values on a periodic basis, and makes adjustments based on a property’s market value. In a down market this can mean much lower property taxes. Being aware of your home’s value can put you in a position to anticipate changes and do some tax and financial planning accordingly. That said, many assessor offices only shift their regular assessments by a maximum amount or percentage of the previous year’s value. However, many states offer an appeal mechanism that can help you push for a lower reassessment to ensure an even more advantageous (and fair) property tax break. But the key is to know your home’s actual value and be able to document it.*
So, how do you determine your home’s value? Your first instinct might be to go to a popular website or download an app for online services that provide estimated real estate values. While these services might offer some instant gratification, they might not take in all the factors and trends that will give you the most accurate estimate of your home’s worth.
Especially if you are considering a move, the best option is to go to a real estate agent that has expertise in your marketplace. An experience professional who is familiar with the properties in your area and has been involved in numerous local transactions will have not only the tools and information but also the context and expertise to get a more accurate read on your home’s true market value. An experienced agent can bring insight into your local market and help you see opportunities that you may not have considered before. This also gives you the opportunity to find a trusted agent that you can work with when it’s time to buy or sell.