If you’re ready to sell your home, you have to know what it’s worth in order to price it appropriately. Price too low, and you’ll leave money on the table; price too high, and your home will likely languish on the market unsold. In addition, what your house is worth on the market isn’t necessarily what you think it’s worth. It all has to do with what comparable homes – very similar homes with respect to condition, size, features, and so on – have recently sold for. Figuring this out is called “running the comps” and will let you know what your home’s fair market value is in the local market – that is, what buyers are willing to pay for it. Because pricing in line with market value is so critical, here are 5 tips to help you run comps for your house in Santa Cruz.
1. Search Listings for Recently Sold Homes
You can start by searching a few of the big online listing sites, looking for “recently sold listings that are most like your home. Use listing sites that let you search for ‘just sold’ or ‘recent sales’ and show your search results on a map.” Here’s how to proceed . . .
- “Enter your city’s name and use the map to explore sold properties by neighborhood.”
- “Filter your search results by details like date sold, price, and the number of bedrooms.”
- “If the site allows it, use other filters — such as crime statistics, school scores, and neighborhood amenities – to get more details for making comparisons.”
- Narrow your collection to a manageable number; a half-dozen is a good goal.”
Keep in mind during your search that for-sale listings won’t’ help much because the price could change at sale time and that sold prices don’t tell you anything about the seller’s concessions. Also, try to use listings with plenty of quality photos that give you a good idea of a property’s condition.
2. Apply the Right Standards
The next step to run comps for your house in Santa Cruz involves applying certain standards to arrive at a good shortlist, for example . . .
- You should use only listings for recently sold properties. “How recently depends on your market. If homes nearby are selling quickly, maybe go no older than 45 days. ‘
- Make sure the listings are for homes very similar to yours, ideally with the same floor plan. But, at the least, find “homes that are roughly the same size with floor plans similar to yours – like ranch home if yours is a ranch, [and] search for similar numbers of bedrooms and baths, but similarities in gross living area matter most.”
- Strive to find homes that are very near yours. “A comp should be in the same school district, neighborhood, and perhaps even the same side of the street.”
3. Visit in Person
Then it’s time to hit the streets for the next step to run comps for your house in Santa Cruz. Listing photos are great, and they can allow you to learn a lot about a property, but they can also be misleading. And that means you need to get out and do some driving and walking around to see the homes on your shortlist in person – mainly to make sure they are actually similar to yours.
Some of the things you should be looking for include:
- The true location – Is, for example, your home on a cul-de-sac, but the comparable home is located on a busy street?
- Appearance – What is the curb appeal of the neighborhood like?
- Nearby amenities – If the comparable homes are located near many more or far fewer amenities, that will affect value.
- Walkability – Is the walkability factor comparable?
4. Run the Numbers
Now it’s time to actually run the numbers for comps for your house in Santa Cruz.
Start by using the results from your online search and your in-person visits to narrow your list of comparable homes to those that are most like yours. Then “[u]see the middle price, adjusting up or down for differences in size, quality, location, features and upkeep. . . . [Use] price-per-square-foot as a starting point for setting a home’s price. If a home that sold for $280 per square foot is similar to yours but yours has an updated kitchen, adjust your price by adding a little value.”
5. Compare Against an Expert Opinion
Our final tip for running the comps for your house in Santa Cruz is to get some expert opinions, comparing your findings against what experts have to say. This will allow you to assess the accuracy of your findings.
Here are some possibilities . . .
- Compare your estimated price for your home against what you get with one of the online home value estimators. Use some caution here, though, because they aren’t always entirely dependable.
- Request a pricing estimate from a local agent. You can contact a Santa Cruz agent at 831-588-2334 for this.
- Get an appraisal done by a professional appraiser. Just be aware that this will cost you roughly $400.
Or Do It the Easier, Better Way . . .
Or you could just do it the easier and better way from the beginning. And that is to contact an experienced Santa Cruz agent and have her perform a comparative market analysis for you. Your agent will have plenty of experience doing this, and she will know the local market and local pricing trends much better than you ever can. So when you’re ready to run comps for your house in Santa Cruz, be sure to contact us at 831-588-2334.