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.
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