You can easily check how much money you have in your bank accounts or see the real-time value of your stock investments, but figuring out the dollar value of your home is trickier.
As a potential seller, knowing your home’s worth will help you price it correctly when you decide to sell. As a buyer, it’s important to know a home’s worth before making an offer.
Even if you’re not looking to buy or sell a home in Mammoth Lakes, you might just be curious about the value of your home. Keeping track of your home’s worth year over year helps you see and understand trends in the Mammoth market. If you decide to sell, you’ll be able to take advantage of a window of opportunity.
This is one of the benefits of working with a Mammoth Lakes real estate agent. My education and local experience means I understand the nuances of your particular home, neighborhood, etc. I can help you determine the true market value of your property, but let’s start with the basics.
Three Types of Home Values
You’ve probably heard of “appraised value,” “assessed value” and “true market value.” It’s important to know the difference between all of these.
A professional appraiser determines the appraised value of a home. Appraisals are usually required by lenders when buyers are financing the property. And while the lender is the one that requires this info, the appraiser doesn’t work for the lender. Appraisers should be objective, licensed professionals who don’t have any allegiance to buyers, sellers or lenders.
The appraised value assures the lender that the buyer isn’t overpaying for the property. If a home is listed for $400,000 and the sale price is $375,000, but the appraiser determines the value is only $325,000, the lender won’t lend for a higher amount than the appraised value.
To figure out this number, appraisers compare your property to similar homes in the area and consider factors like location, square footage, appliances, upgrades, improvements, and the interior and exterior of the home.
The assessed value of your home is determined by your local municipal property assessor. In Mammoth Lakes, Mono County conducts these assessments. The lower your assessed value, the less property tax you’ll pay.
To determine the assessed value, the assessor looks at what comparable homes in your area have sold for and considers the size, age, overall condition and any improvements/upgrades of your home. However, most assessors don’t have full access to your home, so they have limited information.
Assessments are done annually to determine how much property tax you’ll owe. Some counties use a multiplier (usually 60-80%) to calculate the final assessed value. If the assessor determines the value of the home is $300,000, but the county uses a 70% multiplier, the assessed value of the home would be $210,000 for tax purposes.
If your assessed value isn’t where you think it should be, don’t worry. Many homeowners appeal their assessment for a lower valuation so they can save money on property taxes.
True Market Value
True market value is determined by your real estate agent. It refers to the value a buyer is willing to pay for your property. A good local real estate agent with hands-on experience buying and selling properties will understand the mindset of buyers in the Mammoth Lakes market and will know what they’ll pay for a house, townhouse or condo.
As a seller, it’s important to know your true market value to decide what to list your property for. It can also help you decide whether to do improvements before listing your home. Your agent can help you decide which updates and upgrades will have a big impact on your home’s value.
What’s the deal with online calculators?
You might be tempted to see what real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia say your home value is. But an online calculator is just an estimate. It’s not an appraisal or the true market value. These sites have their own algorithms, but they don’t take everything into account. Online estimates can sometimes be a good starting point to open up a conversation with your real estate agent about what your home is worth, but in resort areas like Mammoth Lakes, the online estimates can be very inaccurate.
Having a Mammoth Lakes real estate agent involved in the process is essential. We are showing properties in the area on a daily or weekly basis, and we know the preferences of local buyers and sellers.
How an Agent Finds Your Home’s True Market Value
I start with a comparative market analysis. In this process, I compare your home’s features to similar properties in the area. Here are a few things I factor in to assess home worth:
- Neighborhood sales – what similar, recently sold homes in your neighborhood sold for (and what they have in common with your home)
- The exterior – curb appeal, the style of the house/condo, yards and anything else that impacts how the home looks to someone walking or driving by
- The interior – everything inside the walls of the house, including square footage, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, and quality of appliances
- Age of the home
- Style of the home – if your home is a really desirable style for the Mammoth Lakes market, it’s likely to sell for a higher value
- Market trends – things like what’s going on with Mammoth Mountain, how the local economy is, etc.
- Location, location, location – in Mammoth Lakes, I’m looking for things like proximity to bus lines or chair lifts, surrounding home quality, etc.
Nothing beats the accuracy of an experienced real estate agent or a professional appraiser when it comes to determining your home’s true market value.
If you’re selling a Mammoth Lakes home, a local real estate agent can help you make sure you list it at the right price. For buyers, setting up a personalized home search on the MLS will help you see how homes are being priced.
Contact me if you’d like to get started.
If you liked this post, you might also like:
- National Snapshot: What’s Ahead for Real Estate
- How to Amp Up the Resale Value of Your Mammoth Lakes Home
- The Top 4 Home Selling Myths
In our “bigger is better” culture, there’s an expectation that each home you own should be larger and grander than the last. But life changes like divorce, kids leaving for college, or even the simple act of growing older can prompt us to find a smaller home that better suits our shifting needs and lifestyle. Plus the added challenge for Mammoth Lakes homeowners of snow removal and year-round maintenance can make downsizing even more appealing.
The advantages of downsizing are increasingly recognized by people I work with. The tiny house movement has tons of passionate advocates who promote living simply. A smaller home typically costs less and also usually takes less time and effort to maintain.
Whatever your reason for downsizing, the process can feel overwhelming. Here are five steps to take to guide you through it.
1. Determine your goals and limitations.
The first step is to figure out your goals for your new home. Are you hoping to cut down on home maintenance? Are you ready for forego snow removal forever after the last big winter you went through? Are you looking for certain amenities in the neighborhood or complex you choose? Are you looking for a place with great access to local bus lines so you can easily get to Mammoth Mountain or the grocery store?
You should also consider any limitations that will impact which home you choose. Are stairs an issue? If you’re going through a divorce, are there child custody issues you should take into account? How long do you plan to stay in your new home? Also keep in mind that your goals for a primary residence may be much different than for a second home or vacation home in Mammoth Lakes.
Make a wish list of what you want and rank the list from most to least important.
2. Find the perfect new home.
Once you’ve established your wish list, we can start the search. We can talk through the ins and outs of HOAs and which ones offer the most bang for your buck. I work with clients at all stages of life, so I’m well versed in finding a good fit for each particular situation. Looking for a condo-tel type situation or a more traditional condo? I’ll share how I found my dream home in Mammoth Lakes — it can definitely be done! When the time comes, we’ll discuss what you need to know about making an offer.
3. Sell your current home.
If you’re ready to sell your current home, we can work together to prepare to list it. I work with both buyers and sellers regularly, and my goal is to reduce the stress and hassle for you, whether you’re buying or selling a home. Even if the home you want to sell isn’t in Mammoth Lakes, I have an extensive network and will find a realtor to meet your needs wherever you are located.
Making your home stand out, intentionally staging your home, and marketing it right when it’s listed are all key to getting you the best resale value. The more you can make on your current home, the easier it will be to find the perfect situation for downsizing.
4. Sort and pack your belongings.
Even before you find your new home, you should start preparing for the move. A smaller home means less space for furniture and other possessions, so you’ll have to think through what to keep and what to sell or donate. In Mammoth, Second Chance and The Cast Off are great places to donate household items. You can also try selling things on the Facebook group Buy, Sell or Trade in Mammoth or Bishop (it’s like a Craigslist for the Eastern Sierra).
Parting with things can be emotional. Start with a small and unemotional space like a laundry or powder room and work your way up to larger rooms. Focus on eliminating duplicates or anything you don’t regularly use. If you have sentimental items you’re considering parting with, think about who in your life might enjoy having them.
Make sure what you do keep will help you achieve the goals you outlined in step 1. For example, if you want a home that’s easier to clean, cut down on knick knacks. If you’re moving from a house to a condo in Mammoth Lakes, you won’t need that snowblower anymore.
5. Ask for help when you need it.
Moving is stressful in any situation, but if you’re downsizing due to health issues or a major life change, it can be even tougher. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask friends or family members to help you with packing and decluttering. You can also look into hiring a home organizer, a full-service moving company, or a senior move manager (a professional who helps older adults with relocation).
If financial constraints are holding you back, we can look into tapping into the equity of your current home. This can be helpful in getting you the assistance you need for a smooth transition.
If your home no longer suits your needs, it might be time to consider a change. Read more about buying a home in Mammoth Lakes or selling a home in Mammoth Lakes, or contact me to talk about your options.
When it comes to selling your Mammoth Lakes home, you want to make sure your house stands out in every way. And to sell your home for the most money, you’ll need a good strategy to set it apart. Use these tips to make sure your home gets noticed and wins over buyers.
Stage your home to show its full potential.
It seems like often in Mammoth Lakes sellers will do the bare minimum to prepare their home for the market. But when a potential buyer steps into your home, they need to be able to picture themselves living their life there. If they’re considering your home as a vacation rental, they need to envision how rentable it is and whether it’s a good fit for the type of people they’d like to rent to.
Home staging is one of the hottest trends in real estate because it works. You might stage your home by rearranging furniture to make a room appear bigger or removing heavy curtains to make a room look brighter.
If your home is already set up nicely as a vacation rental, you probably don’t need to worry about staging. And if you plan to sell your Mammoth Lakes home fully furnished, you’ll want to leave existing furniture inside but make sure it’s making the best use of your space. Some people hire professional home stagers, but it’s not always necessary — here are a few inexpensive staging tips to get your home ready for a quick sale.
Draw buyers in with high-quality listing photos.
You just have one chance to make a first impression with potential buyers, and most buyers will first see your home through the online real estate listing. If your photos aren’t up to par, buyers may skip over your home.
Since Mammoth Lakes has a big second home market, people may be viewing your listing from Southern California or farther away, so good pictures are even more important here. I recommend working with a skilled local real estate photographer who has experience with your type of property — in some situations you might need a good drone photographer too. The goal is to show the true essence of your home.
Price it properly from the start.
You’ve probably seen some Mammoth Lakes homes sitting on the market for months. This can scare buyers as they imagine something must be wrong with the property for it to sit for so long. But the real cause is usually that they’re priced too high.
Most buyers shop listings in a certain price range that matches their budget. If your property is priced too high, it can’t compete with the properly-priced homes in a buyer’s budget range. If you price your home aggressively, it can hook buyers who are impressed to find your listing. Potential buyers can get emotionally attached, which can lead to multiple offers or a bidding war. This is good news — it usually means more money in your pocket.
Put on a good show at each showing.
If a buyer is interested enough to schedule a showing of your property, you need to put on a good show. Make your home readily available (often on short notice) for buyers to see. A missed showing is a missed chance to sell your home. If you have many restrictions on when it’s available to view, buyers may skip over your listing.
It’s also important to keep your home show-ready while it’s on the market. A little extra effort keeping your home clean, uncluttered and ready for buyers will help it sell faster, which means you can get back to normal life sooner.
Use a proven promotion plan.
Some agents still market their listings like they did 20 years ago, but I’m not a fan of that approach. It takes more than putting your home on the MLS and hoping it sells. I ensure that your home shows up in the places buyers are most likely to look. By using online and social marketing platforms in addition to offline (traditional) channels to connect with local real estate agents, your property will get maximum exposure. Check out my marketing tips to sell your Mammoth Lakes property.
For more tips on selling your home, check out my Ultimate Home Seller’s Guide, or give me a call at (760) 914-4664.