What is your home worth?

Knowing how much the property is worth will equip homeowners with the knowledge to make well-informed plans for the future, regardless of whether the owner plans on selling. There are several resources available to homeowners who wish to discover the value of their home, the most reliable of which is to have a real estate professional provide a free evaluation of the property.

According to Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, real estate professionals are best equipped to provide the most accurate market valuation of the property. “That being said, information has become so readily available that homeowners could get a rough idea of what their home could be worth before they involve a real estate professional to conduct an official appraisal,” says Goslett.

The first thing homeowners can do is to look at similar listings online and find out what the average asking price is. When doing this, homeowners should be aware that the initial asking price of a home can vary greatly from the actual selling price, so it is not always reliable to base one’s selling price solely on the asking price on neighbouring homes listed on property portals.

“Real estate agents will know what neighbouring homes actually sold for, and not just what they were listed at. Real estate professionals will also conduct a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine a property's value accurately. In a CMA, statistics are gathered from various sources to determine the average price per square metre of properties in the area. This provides an agent with a base from which to determine the value of the home,” Goslett explains.

Once this base is established, real estate agents then factor in the unique features of the property and how these will impact the desirability of the home. The more desirable the features, the higher the asking price will be.

To provide homeowners with a rough idea of which features tend to drive up prices, Goslett mentions that the location and condition of the property, along with the size of its plot and the views it may offer, all contribute towards achieving a higher asking price. “Security features, finishes and fixtures, and any other features that could set the house apart from others in the areas, such as solar panels or heated towel rails, could all increase the value of a home.” 

Beyond this, there are also several factors outside of the control of homeowners that will affect the value of the property. Some of this information is widely available to the public: such as interest rate hikes and economic downturns; or plans for new developments in the area and improvements to local amenities such as parks or shopping malls. While the former will have a negative impact on the home’s market value, the latter is likely to have a positive effect.

“Both countrywide influences and local factors will have an impact on home’s potential perceived value among buyers. To arrive at the most accurate value of the property, real estate practitioners will look at what is affecting the South African property market as a whole. They will also consider what trends are forming within that specific neighbourhood and how this will influence the perceived value of the home,” Goslett explains.  

While it is possible for homeowners to get a rough idea of what their property could be worth by reviewing information that is widely available online, the most accurate way to determine a home’s value is still to involve a real estate professional.

“A correctly-priced home will appeal to a wider range of buyers and will be sold within the shortest possible timeframe. Buyers often assume that the seller will be more desperate to sell if the home has been on the market for months on end and will then approach the seller with low-ball offers. For the best chance of securing a sale at full asking price, homeowners should always use a real estate professional who can provide an accurate valuation of the property and ensure a more seamless sale,” Goslett concludes.

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