Million-dollar properties in Westchester County are selling at a record-setting pace – and houses in the $600,000 to $800,000 price bracket are gone nearly as fast.
Behind the surge is pandemic fatigue, better schools, and the dissipation of commutes into New York City’s Finacial District. If you’re working from home, you might as well have some property to call yours, as the thinking goes.
So, now is the time to sell your home. Demand for suburban properties is the strongest it’s been in two decades.
But before you list your home, you need to make a housing market analysis. Why? Because a real estate analysis will help you set reasonable expectations for the selling process and answer that quintessential question: What is the value of my home?
And while bidding wars and best-and-final battles are commonplace right now, so are re-listings and significant price downgrades for sellers who have dollar signs in their eyes and kitchens that haven’t seen a new backsplash since Ronald Reagan was in the White House.
But you don’t have to let that happen to you.
In the following article, we’ll walk you through how to conduct a housing market analysis and spotlight factors that can make a real difference in your home price.
Housing Market Analysis Terminology
There are three ways to evaluate your home’s value: the market value, the appraised value, and the assessment value.
The market value is how much a person will pay for your home. It may or may not be based on reality. For example, a baseball card of your favorite Met may have a lot more value for you than it does for a Red Sox fan. So the market value is objectively relative to what someone will pay.
The appraised value is how much a bank or mortgage lender deems your house is worth. Recently, the assessed value of homes hasn’t matched the market value or selling price of some homes in the Lower Hudson Valley.
This has caused buyers to pay more cash to make up the difference between what the bank will lend and the offered price. In some cases, homes have been re-listed with the new sales price to influence the bank appraisal.
The downside of this tactic for buyers is that it may raise market and appraised values for homes around the property.
The final term you should know is the assessment rate. This is the value that the local municipality assesses for the home and is the basis for the amount of property tax.
The assessment rate is usually a standard equation based on acreage, bedrooms, and other property features. Interestingly, this figure can be challenged in local procedures and is often lowered by savvy professionals skilled in arguing for lower assessments.
Take Stock of Your Home
With those terms in mind, now sit down and take a look around. What do you see? This simple act may have more to do with how much to ask for your home than anything else.
Now grab a piece of paper or pull up your Evernote app on your phone and start making a list. You’re going to need these details when you determine the value of your home.
Location Above All Else
The first thing to consider is the location. Where does your property sit? Is it on the waterfront in New Rochelle or backed up to the MetroNorth tracks in White Plains?
Are you a short jaunt to Byram Hills High School in North Castle? Or are you listening to I-287 traffic whiz by in Tarrytown?
In Westchester County, three factors tend to have an outsized preeminence in determining the desirability of your home’s location: Is it close to a MetroNorth or LIRR station? Does your town have a quality public school? And is there a downtown nearby with quality dining and walkability?
On the other hand, some of the biggest downsides include flooding (Hello, Grant Street in Pleasantville), a preponderance of nuisance crime, and road noise. Some of the most trafficked parkways, interstates, and roadways in the country converge in Westchester County.
Next, take stock of the physical features of your home. How many bedrooms, bathrooms, auxiliary rooms, and outside features are there? Then factor in when was the last time your bathrooms or kitchen were remolded.
Kitchen and bathroom updates are the biggest selling points of any home after location and the number of bedrooms.
Now armed with this knowledge, you can turn to a few different ways to finish your housing market analysis.
The first option is a simple home value estimator easily found through a Google search on the internet. You’ll plug in your address, the data you’ve collected, and any other information the calculator requires.
The tool will then produce an estimate for your home’s value. This is a fine rudimentary method for evaluating your home’s value but, in many cases, lacks the nuances impacting current market values.
Comparative Market Analysis
If you already have a real estate agent or are interviewing prospective agents, they can offer you a comparative market analysis.
This is their professional estimation of what your home is worth based on the information you’ve presented them and the sales of homes nearby. When inquiring about comparative market analysis, make sure to inquire what the agent believes your home will appraise at.
House Price Index Calculator
An HPI is a more detailed analysis than the home value estimator above. Often curated and updated by real-estate website professionals, these tools calculate data gleamed from recent mortgage acquisitions in your area to calculate the assessed and market value of your home.
These are extremely useful for tracking purchases and seeing how much houses in the area have increased in value over time.
Hire an Appraiser
Lastly, hiring a professional appraiser that works with lenders in your area to conduct a professional report on your home is a great way to get a full market analysis.
However, their appraisals are not inexpensive, and you run the risk of getting the same information that a real-estate agent with their pulse on the community can give you for free.
Ways to Improve Your Home
If you’ve taken stock of your home and not sure if you want to sell, consider what your home needs to demand top dollar. As we’ve stated above, a good way to evaluate your home is its location, size, and its last upgrades.
Just because you are unhappy with your housing market analysis results doesn’t mean you can’t make positive changes to improve your position.
Are you ready to talk to a Simply Smart Homes consultant about selling your home or a market analysis? If so, contact Farva Scott today.