If you’ve been in your house for a few years and you’re thinking about selling or refinancing, you might be wondering how its value compares to the day you bought it. How has the market, the improvements you’ve made or the value of the homes in your neighborhood impacted the price of your home? By obtaining a re-estimate of your house, you’ll have a clearer picture of what it is worth not only to you but to the bank or potential buyers.
You can use home value estimators online or seek help from a professional such as a real estate broker or agent or an appraiser to get a more detailed picture of your home’s value, according to NerdWallet writers Beth Buczynski and Elizabeth Renter. They also add that the Federal Housing Financing Agency’s house price index calculator is also a resource for getting a quick estimate.
According to Buczynski and Renter, having a current estimate of your home is important when you want to ready your house for the market, but it is also beneficial to negotiating insurance premiums, figuring out the year’s property taxes and applying for a home equity line of credit.
“Determining your home’s value means greater control over these processes. Property taxes are almost always open to appeal, for example. If you can prove an assessment is too high by pulling comps, you may be rewarded with a lower tax bill,” says Buczynski and Renter.
A home mortgage appraisal may even reveal you’re paying too much in interest, giving you a little more wiggle room in your house budget.
“If the loan-to-value ratio is too high, the lender may charge the borrower a higher mortgage rate to reflect greater risk. However, if an appraisal shows the loan is a much smaller percentage of the home’s value, the borrower may receive a lower interest rate, which could lower the monthly payment,” reports Bankrate writer Margarette Burnette.
Knowledge is power, but power can come at a price. If you choose to employ a professional to estimate or appraise your home, you’ll have to pay for the service.
You might suffer from sticker shock if the information you receive reveals a lower home value than you anticipated, but this unexpected or bad news can be a silver lining. The Balance writer Janet Wickell suggests taking any bad news in stride and working through issues or problems one at a time. Use the information, even when it’s not what you hoped for, to your advantage to regain or ultimately increase your home’s value.
There’s a lot of factors that influence the value of your home. Some, like home improvements, insurance claims and general upkeep, are mostly in your control. The condition of your neighbor’s homes or changes to your overall neighborhood are not in your control. By getting a re-estimate of your home, you’ll earn a more accurate picture of your home’s value and be able to make more informed decisions regarding it.