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How to Find Out How Much a House Sold For

Want to know how much a house sold for? There are a variety of research tools you can use, but not all of them are % up-to-date or accurate. Find out what research methods are available to you to get the most accurate information on the sales history of a house.

how to find out how much a house sold for

Updated July 24th,

Do you need to find out how much a house sold for? Maybe you’re interested in buying and want to find out what you can afford in your target area; or maybe you're getting ready to sell and want to look up how much similar homes have sold for in your area.

Whatever your reasons, the good news is that there are a variety of ways to find out how much someone paid for a house.

While you take the DIY approach and look up information online, data on sites like Zillow and Redfin isn't always up-to-date — or even accurate.

The best way to find out the actual price a house sold for is speaking with a local realtor — it's also free.

> Get in touch to interview top agents in your area.

In the meantime, here are some avenues you can explore to get you started on your research.

How can you find out if a house has been sold?

To find out if a house has been sold, you can check out real estate sites like Zillow, but these sites are not known for their accuracy and often have dated information. Your County Recorder’s Office has precise information available to the public unless you live in a state like Texas that has non-disclosure laws. If you can’t find out if a house has been sold on real estate sites or through local government, you need to contact a local realtor who handles the neighborhood of the house you’re curious about.

How to find out how much a house sold for?

The best way to find out how much a house sold for is to ask a local real estate agent who can look up the house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a database available to agents who use it to list homes, find homes for sale, and share with each other the sold data for any property listed.

You can also try your County Recorder’s office or website. But if the property is in a non-disclosure state (or county,) you may be completely out of luck. In many non-disclosure states, even local tax and appraisals officials, and popular realtor sites like Zillow, have to get their information from local realtors.

The current non-disclosure states in are Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri (some counties), Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. If the house you are interested in is in one of these states, contact a local realtor for any information on the property.

Are Zillow sold prices accurate?

Zillow’s sold prices are not % accurate. Zillow scrapes its data from 3rd party sources that access public records. The site won’t receive data from county offices governed by non-disclosure laws, they have to rely on local agents directly. Zillow also gets data when agents update the information on their Zillow profiles. But sometimes this data does not reflect the true net to the seller.

For example, Zillow sold prices may not reflect any seller concessions. Or the data may include closing costs which would make it appear that the house sold for more than it did.

In addition, Zillow’s data may be spotty in certain geographic areas and some property sales may take longer to appear on Zillow’s site even if they’ve already been updated in county records.

How to find out how much a house sold for in your neighborhood?

The easiest way to find out how much a house sold for in your neighborhood is to ask the agent who sold the house. If you don’t have that agent’s information, you can check real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com but keep in mind the information on these sites isn’t reliable.

Another option is to check if your County Recorder’s office has a website that you can pull that information from. Public Records Online Directory is a convenient portal to Recorders' websites accessible by the public.

If you still come up empty-handed, you can contact a local realtor who can access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for your area and give you the exact price that the house in your neighborhood sold for.

Which real estate website should I pick?

You’re better off checking more than one real estate website. Most real estate websites have either an address lookup tool or a map that allows you to zoom into neighborhoods. Common websites include Homes.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com.

It’s best to check as many real estate websites as you can so you can compare results. It’s normal for multiple sites to have conflicting information. If you find different sales prices for the same house, you’ll want to confirm the results with a local realtor.

Enter Your Preferred Area

On Zillow.com, type in the property in the search field. If the information on Zillow is correct and updated, you may get a valid sale price. It’s a similar procedure on other real estate sites. If you visit the County Recorder’s website, you may be asked for the zip code first. If there is a new real estate transaction relating to the property, it’ll pull up if it’s in the system.

What if they don't list the price?

If you’ve tried real estate websites and your County Recorder’s website and still can’t find the price that a house sold for, you need to contact a local realtor who can access the price for you.

Real estate websites have limited and frequently incorrect information. Sometimes real estate transactions take a while to update on all websites including government sites.

In non-disclosure states, the sales price of a specific home might not be available to the public at all. This is why the most time-efficient and accurate results will always come from a local agent who has access to real-time sold home prices.

What are the next steps?

If you’ve exhausted efforts to find the sold price of a house online using real estate sites and your county’s website, you can either contact the realtor who sold the house, or you can contact a local realtor who handles that particular market and ask the realtor to look up the most recent data on the house in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Can I find out how much a house sold for in person?

If you want to find out how much a house sold for in person, go to your County Recorder’s Office. A County Recorder’s Office maintains all the records for real estate sales in the area that it serves. In most counties, you’ll be able to look at the records yourself, while in others the office staff might look it up for you.

If for some reason, your county government office doesn’t have the information yet, or you live in a state that has non-disclosure laws, your only option is to contact a top agent in your local area, like a Clever Partner Agent.

Partner Agents have years of experience in their local markets and access to any information you need on local properties. Find a top local agent in your neighborhood today for more information.

Top FAQs About House Prices

If you’re researching house prices, you have several options depending on what kind of information you need. Real estate websites can give you a general idea about house prices, but they can’t be counted on for accuracy. These top FAQs about house prices should get you started.

How do I find out if someone owns property?

You can find out who owns a piece of property at the County Recorder’s Office or its website that governs the area you are interested in. Local governments keep track of all property records. Each record contains the address of the property, parcel number, what the property sold for and all past and current owners.

Alternatively, you can try the online Public Record database. Also, the website PropertyShark.com will allow you one free search which can render the name of the current property owner if you have the complete address. Keep in mind that some states have non-disclosure laws that prohibit government offices from sharing real estate information with the public.

Are real estate transactions public record?

For most states, real estate transactions are public record. Many county offices even have websites, so you can access data online. Some may require you to visit their local office. It’s not uncommon for County Recorder’s offices to charge a small administration fee for information.

But there are a few states and counties which have non-disclosure laws and won’t release real estate transactions to the public. If you’re interested in a real estate transaction in non-disclosure state or county, you should contact a local realtor.

How do I find out a house’s history?

When you want to find out the history of a house, you can do a fair amount of research online. The site homedisclosure.com can give you some information, especially about the local area, but won’t dig deep into previous owners.

For more accurate information, check for a property abstract at your County Recorder’s office and ask to review the chain of title. You can also check legal documents such as deeds, mortgages, wills, probate records, tax sales, and even court litigation. These documents will also have the names of all the people who have owned the house, how long they owned it and what they paid for it. If you live in a non-disclosure state that doesn’t share records with the public, you should contact a local realtor.

How do I find real estate comps?

If you want to find real estate comps, you can get a ballpark figure by using real estate sites but they are hit-and-miss. Look for homes in the same neighborhood or zip code. The more details that you have on the home you are trying to get a comparable value for the better.

For example, find homes that have similar square footage and number/type of rooms. Note the condition, age and features. The exact location of the home is important. Homes near freeways or busy industrial areas are going to be valued less while homes on a corner lot will probably be valued more. Remember that estimates and historical data on free real estate sites are often incorrect or dated so the values you come up with may be off.

The best way to find real estate comps is to contact a local agent in your area and ask for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Top local agents are the most thorough and accurate resources when researching properties.


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Sours: https://listwithclever.com/real-estate-blog/how-to-find-out-how-much-a-house-sold-for/

Why You Should Avoid Zillow at all Costs and Trulia and Realtor.com…etc

In a society obsessed with technology and social media, we are bombarded by loads of content. Today, anybody can post information online and just because something’s popular doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Now more than ever, we need to be very conscious of where our information comes from. Does the founder of this website have a motive for posting certain content? What is the real reason this website exists?

In real estate, most websites exist to extract your contact information. They’re giant traps created as a lead machine for Realtors (the ones who pay anyway). Websites such as Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia are all designed with the sole purpose of creating (weak) leads for Realtors, and in turn, revenue for the websites. At the same time, these are the exact sites where buyers begin their home search and where sellers look to find the value of their current home. This creates a variety of problems due to the false advertising and inaccurate data.

Of all the online real estate databases, Zillow may be the very worst. It’s the most commonly used site despite the false advertising and information. I was first introduced to Zillow leads when I left my previous real estate team. It was my first time working entirely on commission, and I was doing whatever I could to generate leads. An agent in my brokerage told me about the Zillow leads she paid for. She offered to share a few of them as she didn’t have enough time to contact all of them in a timely manner. It seemed so easy. The first Zillow lead email she forwarded me included the name, number and email address of somebody who was interested in a South Austin home. At the time, I didn’t realize how the Zillow lead system worked. So, I called this lead, ready to give them more information on the home, happy to help and excited to talk to a potential client.

The voice on the other end of the line sounded exhausted, “You’re the 20th Realtor to call me in the past hour. Please stop calling.” Not exactly the type of response I was hoping for when following up on these “hot leads”. I instantly felt guilty and apologized. The image below shows that the potential buyer was interested in talking to somebody about the property and did inquire about it. Little did he know he’d get dozens of calls from multiple agents over the next week.

I understand sales jobs are competitive and finding good leads is key to survival, but was this even a way to obtain strong, profitable leads?

Zillow creates a lose-lose situation. The potential buyer is angry, the agent is paying way too much money to compete with way too many agents, and it’s overwhelming for a buyer who is only on Zillow to browse through the home photos. During the timeline of these first searches, many buyers are in no way ready to transact on a property. I’m sure some Realtors thrive using Zillow leads, but it puts a sour taste in my mouth. It’s not honest, and it’s not accurate. Who is winning here? Zillow.

Let’s look into this a bit more. What is the lowdown on Zillow and similar sites?

For buyers: Many of the homes listed on Zillow may not be for sale. For example, a client of mine was intrigued by a house they saw on Zillow. Zillow’s data showed the house was currently for sale, had been on the market for almost a month and was in the area and budget they wanted. What I found via the MLS is that the house had sold in three days a month prior and for over asking price.

Another way Zillow can provide inaccurate information is through the agent listed with the property. You would think this is the “listing agent” or the “seller’s agent.” Wrong. It’s usually attached to a paying Realtor client of Zillow. It’s misleading advertising, and it’s taking advantage of people. So instead of turning to a massive online real estate database like Zillow, turn to friends and family. A simple social media post asking for a great local Realtor will probably get you great results!

For sellers: Zestimates are Zillow’s algorithm-produced appraisals. They provide people with a basic estimate of what a particular property is worth. Are Zestimates ever accurate? Rarely. According to economist John Wake, the typical Zillow Zestimate error is $14, “You don’t know if it’s $14, too high or $14, too low. And it gets worse because HALF the time Zillow Zestimates are off by a lot more than $14,”.How can they be accurate when there are so many factors to determine how much a house is worth. No two houses are the same which makes it impossible for a computer to determine it’s value. Zillow uses a computer generated algorithm based on what has sold in the area, the square footage and the number of bedrooms. The basics. They don’t have inspectors checking out each property making sure their data is accurate. That’s the only way to determine a property’s worth. Yet, many sellers will only look to Zillow when they start thinking about putting their house on the market.

If you enter your information into online real estate databases, expect your phone to start buzzing. A consumer’s information will potentially be shared with hundreds of agents. The house you were simply curious about has now caused you hours of annoying calls, texts, and emails from different Realtors. If an agent is persistent…this could last for months.

If you’re working with a Realtor, they’ve probably set you up with a home search. I know it’s still tempting to look on Zillow. You may see homes that fit your exact criteria, and the price is great! But why hasn’t your Realtor sent you these?Unfortunately, the listing is probably not accurate or available at all. Realtors set you up with home searches which are directly from the MLS (Multiple Listings Service). The MLS will be the most up to date home search you can get, and it will come directly from a Realtor. With an MLS search set up via a Realtor, you will know the homes in your search will be on the market. Also, if you set up your search with a Realtor, they will be the only one contacting you.

But what if you’re merely curious and not ready to buy? You don’t want to waste anyone’s time!

Realtors work on commission, so I realize you may not want to waste their time. Most Realtors won’t mind helping you with a simple automatic home search. It takes almost no time! Realtors work in a competitive field and by going out of their way to help somebody now, they are slowly building a connection. A new client may use this Realtor in the future or even recommend them to a friend. If not? They’ve wasted almost no time. Not to mention saved somebody the headache of sifting through false material and dodging a million sales calls!

Kristina is the co-founder of Open House Austin, a real estate education company. Contact our team for any real estate related questions or to start the home buying or selling process. Don’t live in Austin? We can also connect you with a great Realtor in your area.

Sours: https://austinstartups.com/why-you-should-avoid-zillow-at-all-costsddb4a
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Zillow is losing millions on selling homes. But its risk-taking CEO isn't worried

There's a steep learning curve, and so far, the company is losing millions every month on the new initiative. But Barton believes the big bet will pay off.

Why Zillow is shifting course

Today, more agents use Facebook and LinkedIn to market homes than yard signs and open houses, and the market for online real estate ads is valued at $ billion, according to Borrell Associates, a research group that compiles an annual outlook on the industry.

Zillow already captures a good chunk of that market; it brought in $ billion in revenue from online advertising in Co-founded by Barton in , the company scooped up competing real estate sites like Trulia and StreetEasy over the years. With nearly million monthly users across its sites, according to the company, Zillow now operates one of the most trafficked online real estate platforms in the country.

So why put all that at risk?

In a way, the company was boxed into the decision by smaller, newer competitors: OpenDoor launched in with iBuying as its core offering, followed by OfferPad in RedFin, meanwhile, had started experimenting with iBuying in

Related: See the 20 Risk Takers pushing global business forward

"iBuying was an existential threat to the business," said Mike DelPrete, a real estate tech strategist and scholar-in-residence at the University of Colorado Boulder. "Zillow's whole position is based on being the first place consumers go when they're buying or selling a home. They need to take the oxygen out of the room for anyone else and own the space as fast as they can."

As iBuying gained traction on other sites, DelPrete said Zillow ran the risk of losing its competitive edge. But even though many experts feel it was a natural expansion for the company, it still came with a fair amount of risk, particularly because the margins are razor thin.

A home owned by Zillow, for sale in Atlanta, Georgia. The company has expanded its homebuying program to 23 US markets. (Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN)

Selling digital ads next to real estate listings is one thing. But selling homes is a whole different ball game.

"It's pretty unusual to have this kind of business model change for a public company — it's such a risky move," said Mark Mahaney, lead internet analyst at RBC Capital Markets. "It probably helped that Rich was the one coming in to help do it. He has an enormous amount of credibility."

For Barton, that credibility comes from an entrepreneurial success streak. Not only did he rapidly scale up Zillow during his first stint as CEO, but he also founded Expedia and co-founded Glassdoor. He's not afraid of taking big swings.

"I'm very comfortable with risk that is tempered," he said in an interview with CNN Business' Rachel Crane. "I kind of think of it as courage."

Barton had stepped away from Zillow's top job in and moved into the role of executive chairman. But in February , Zillow brought him back as CEO when the company decided to double down on its iBuying strategy. Zillow's stock shot up on the news, after trading lower for much of the year before.

"Rich has a strong track record in the 'disruptive' space," said DelPrete. "Before he came back as CEO, Zillow was in a bit of a rut with investors. It makes sense to have a changing of the guard if the business is going to pivot."

One-click magic

Before launching Zillow Offers, the company generated most of its revenue through its Premier Agent business, which sold ads and leads to real estate agents around the country. That segment of the business had started to slow, giving the company another incentive to find new revenue streams, according to experts.

Barton likened the homebuying process to a large grocery store. Before Zillow launched, the lights were off and people were shopping in the dark. Zillow's arrival in was the equivalent of turning the lights on and providing more information and transparency while customers shopped.

"But you get to the checkout line and it's still 's technology," he said. "There's a long line, there is chaos in the line, there's a person who's scanning things one at a time."

To Barton, Zillow Offers is an attempt to create an "express lane to make it just one click and have magic happen."

In the year since Barton returned as CEO, Zillow Offers has been working hard to make that magic possible. It's expanded from seven markets to 23 in the last year.

Zillow brought Barton back as CEO when the company decided to double down on its iBuying strategy. (Jovelle Tamayo for CNN)

How it works: Homeowners come to Zillow to check their Zestimate; if they're in a price range and location where Zillow sees an opportunity to buy, they can click a button and fill out a few basic facts about the home (photos are optional but not required). Within 48 hours, Zillow gives an initial offer, which is a "combination of human and machine," according to Emily Heffter, Zillow's director of corporate communications. She said Zillow makes an initial calculation with the data it has on hand and uses broker partners in the city to make sure it's an appropriate offer.

If the homeowner likes this offer, Zillow sends an employee (not a licensed inspector) to look at the house in person. Then, Zillow makes an adjusted offer, which takes into account any repairs the house needs. If homeowners accept the offer, they can choose a closing date between 7 and 90 days in the future. Heffter said the entire offer process doesn't take more than a week.

Barton stressed that Zillow's goal is to provide a fair price that gives sellers a "get-out-of-jail-free card," allowing them to move on to their next venture without being "stuck" in their current home, waiting for it to sell.

In November, Zillow published a study that looked at 3, homes where the seller had declined a Zillow Offer and went on to sell their home the traditional way. The final sale price was an average of just % more than the initial Zillow Offer, something the company uses to underscore Barton's point: their offers are market rate.

This is also why Barton takes issue with the word "flipping" when referring to Zillow Offers.

"We're providing a service to sellers," he said. "The 'flip' term has embedded in it some negative connotations around taking advantage of people in distressed situations and making outsized profits. That's not what we're doing."

In , Zillow said more than , homeowners requested a bid. And yet over the entire year, Zillow bought just 6, homes and sold 4, Even though the numbers are low, they mark a big increase in a year: In , Zillow bought homes and sold (Opendoor, for comparison, bought around 11, in )

Heffter said Zillow tries to "buy homes at the median," which means whatever a typical single family home is for that city (in Miami, for instance, it might be a condo). They avoid "really wealthy or really unique neighborhoods because they're harder to resell and harder to price." Similarly, she said there's not as much of a market for properties and neighborhoods on the lower end. She noted that's why Zillow Offers started out in markets like Phoenix and Atlanta: The housing stock was similar in age and quality so it was much easier to price confidently and know what they were getting.

"[We avoid] homes that need major structural repairs," Heffter said. "We just do freshening up: Landscaping, paint, flooring. Very occasionally we might do a roof; we fix a lot of pools and air conditioners."

A home undergoing repair and renovations in Smyrna, Georgia. (Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN)

She said there are a lot of homes that Zillow decides not to move forward with for one reason or another. Likewise, some homeowners use the initial Zillow offer as a starting point before opting to go the more traditional route.

Zillow charges the seller a fee of about % on average, which is notably higher than the traditional 6% commission a seller pays to realtors. Heffter said the fee is adjustable depending on things like the house itself and the market, and added that the higher rate accounts for the risk that Zillow takes on.

"It might cost a little bit more to go through us," she said. "But other costs you'd take on are worth considering: If you're in a [homeowners association] and sit on your house to sell, you're paying dues and utilities. A lot of people move out while their house is on the market, so they're paying double mortgage or rent. We think for a lot of people it probably works out."

On top of the fees, Zillow also makes its money from whatever profit it gets from selling the home. So far, those margins haven't been great. In the fourth quarter, Zillow said the operating cost for each home was an average of $,, while the average home sold for $, — a loss of $1, with each sale. And that's before accounting for interest expenses and holding costs, which amounted to an additional $4, in losses per home.

Overall, Zillow's Homes division lost $ million in , before taxes.

A stomach for losses

DelPrete said one of Zillow's advantages in the iBuying space is the company's stomach for "sustained unprofitability" as most iBuyers are currently losing money on the strategy.

"[Zillow's] entire Homes division is losing tens of millions of dollars each month," he said. "It's a bloodbath. They have plenty of cash to burn to withstand the massive losses. It's pretty staggering. It also appears to be a game of chicken between Opendoor and Zillow at the moment."

Experts think the tight margins will continue to be problematic. The best case: Zillow scales its instant offers and the unit economics increase enough to make the segment profitable. But the true potential could lie in the lead generation: Roughly , people each year telling Zillow that they're interested in selling their home. That's where DelPrete thinks the real opportunity is: using iBuying "as a portal to other ways of making money" in the transaction, like referral fees, title insurance and mortgages.

"If Zillow is able to count each of those people as a customer, they'll win," he said. "And for those people, some of them want an instant sale, some are kicking the tires, some want to sell the traditional way. It's like going to their kitchen table and saying, 'What do you want? To list your house, do an instant offer, get a broker? It's empowering consumers."

Barton acknowledges that this is part of the strategy, noting that, for example, many homeowners who don't use Zillow Offers are still interested in selling their home. In that case, Zillow might refer them to one of its agent partners and take a referral fee. Still, he's adamant that he sees Zillow Offers as a profitable segment on its own. He said that in three to five years, he sees Zillow buying and selling about 5, houses per month and making $20 billion in revenue with that segment alone. (That's more than seven times the company's entire revenue.)

Although Zillow Offers is currently losing millions of dollars every month, Barton says he's confident it will eventually become a profitable part of the business. (Jovelle Tamayo for CNN)

"We are not designing the Zillow Offers business to be a loss leader for a bunch of other businesses," he said. "We are designing it to be, long-term, a profitable business in and of itself that also is a gateway to a world of other services."

Of course, those plans could get a wrench thrown in them if the housing market takes a hit. But even that doesn't phase Barton, who said Zillow Offers can weather any downturn.

The internet didn't shrink 6% real estate commissions. But this lawsuit might

"People still need to move," he said. "If we have to take some short-term loss in the process, that's OK because we're going to be buying homes at much cheaper prices during that period. [And] people may be more motivated to sell, honestly, so our service will be more highly valued."

Still, it'll be an uphill climb to achieve the scale that will make Zillow Offers successful, and it's not going to happen overnight. RBC's Mahaney thinks it will take until at least or before investors see if "one could consistently generate material profits in this sector." But Zillow definitely isn't starting from scratch.

"Zillow's customer acquisition cost is zero," DelPrete said. "It's the most popular real estate portal in the country with hundreds of millions of consumers going there. It's easy to put up an advertisement to ask about iBuying, while other competitors need to spend tens of millions of dollars to generate those leads. It's a sustainable competitive advantage."

Editor's note: This story has been changed to update outdated information provided by Zillow about how long transactions may take to close.

Sours: https://www.cnn.com//02/21/business/zillow-rich-barton-risk-takers/index.html

Curious about the going rate for properties in your area so you can nail down a competitive list price? Well, it’s a lot easier to find that information now than it was 15 years ago.

Once upon a time, the only place you could get that coveted property data was the MLS (multiple listing service), a series of private databases real estate professionals use to share listing information among one another and broker deals.

Today, that’s changed&#; all you need is a Wi-Fi connection to dig up specs like square footage, bedroom count, and selling prices on nearly any house across the country.

While you no longer have to be an agent or home appraiser to find comparable sales, aka “comps” for your own house, it’s still a tricky business. Don’t expect to run some simple math—comp A +  comp B + comp C, divided by three to get your list price.

Follow this “how to find comps for my house” crash course to do your homework on comparable sales, then decide if you’d like to go it alone or enlist the help of a pro.

A neighborhood of houses with similar comps.

First of all, what are ‘comps’?

In real estate, the term “comps” refers to recently sold homes similar to your own house across a number of key criteria.

Comps help you price your home accurately by giving you a range for its “fair market value,” which you can then add or subtract from based on your home’s unique characteristics and features.

To be considered a comp, a property ideally matches your house in:

  • Location, location, location
  • Size (square footage, inside and out)
  • Number of beds and baths
  • Layout
  • Year built (within a 5-year range)
  • Condition
  • Upgrades and finishes

Once you’ve assembled your pool of similar properties, you want to take note of their sold price. Active listings are not an accurate comparison point for your home’s value.

Think about it&#;If the home down the street is listed for $,—that’s great, but it hasn’t sold yet, so how do you know if it’s too high or too low?

Comps that have sold within the last 60 days are most preferable because they reflect current market conditions. However, recent sales aren’t always available, so you may have to pull comps from as long as six to 12 months ago.

Why do you need comps to price your home?

Comps aren’t just one of those “nice to have” elements of your pricing strategy. They’re a benchmark that will come into play at multiple points in the transaction.

Once you get to escrow, a home appraiser will assess your home’s value on behalf of the mortgage lender financing the home—using a comps analysis of their own.

If the appraiser finds that the home’s fair market value is less than the price the buyers agreed to pay, the buyers can negotiate the price down or back out of the sale.

“What is an appraiser going to see when he appraises this house?” asks top agent Collier Swecker, an investment properties specialist endorsed by Dave Ramsey and Glenn Beck.

“The listing price needs to stay within earshot of the appraisal because the methodology will be the same federal government guidelines that the buyer’s appraiser will use down the line.”

In other words, if you didn’t use the right comps to set the list price, your home may appraise for less than the accepted offer. If that’s the case, then the lender may not approve the buyer’s loan and your sale could fall through.

When pulling comps, three is the minimum number you need. However it’s a safer bet to gather six of the most recent, similar comps that are closest to you.

“Different loan types have different guidelines and criteria that the appraiser must meet,” says Swecker. “For example, the appraiser may have to find three comps for a VA loan, but for an FHA loan six comps may be needed within a half mile.”

A computer used to find comps for a house.

How to find your own comps on the top real estate listing websites

Back in the day, you needed a secure login to access property data from the MLS.

Nowadays it’s a lot easier to gather data about homes on the market in your area, thanks to the internet and numerous online real estate listing sites.

These sites pull non-proprietary information from the MLS into searchable databases that let you filter listings by specifics that match your own home. This includes details like, location, number of bath and bedrooms, lot size, and home type.

Most importantly, the majority of these sites allow you to filter out all but sold properties.

Here’s a list of places to start your search for comps:

Zillow

Start your search for comps on Zillow by typing your city and state into the search bar.

Filter for “Recently Solds” so you’re only seeing the yellow dots.

A map of similar houses on Zillow.

Zoom in on your area, then your neighborhood, and finally your house to use as a reference point. Assemble comps in closest proximity to your own location that match your home’s characteristics.

Pro tip: For faster comp assembly, hover over a Recently Sold listing with your mouse to see the number of beds and baths without having to click through.

A map of similar house comps in a neighborhood.

Trulia

Trulia also provides access to sold data through its public records database. Start by selecting your state, followed by your county, ZIP code, street name and finally— your address!

Pro tip: Trulia’s profile of your home’s address offers up a list of comparable sales already curated for you based on:

  • Distance to your home
  • Property Type
  • Sold Price
  • Sold Date
  • Bed
  • Bath
  • Square footage
A map of neighborhood comps on Trulia.

Realtor

Realtor provides a search portal of “Just Sold” properties. Enter your city and state and start browsing from there.

Pro tip: Assembling comps through Realtor requires a bit more legwork as you can’t zoom in on a map or by ZIP code/neighborhood to narrow down the “Just Sold” listing pool in your city. As you can see in the screenshot below, a search for “Just Solds” in Wheaton, IL, serves up results alone. But you can filter by:

  • Property type (house/condo/farm ranch/land)
  • Home size
  • Lot size
  • Home age
Different houses in a neighborhood on Realtor.com.

Redfin

Search your city on Redfin’s “Find a Home” portal. Then filter for “Listing Status” and turn the “For Sale” toggle to “Off” and the Sold toggle to “On.” Use the blue listings to find comps for your house.

Pro Tip: Redfin lets you narrow down your “Sold” listings by time frame—so you can search for listings that sold last week, all the way up to listings that sold in the last 3 years. For the purposes of finding comps, remember that the more recent, the better.

A Redfin search engine to find house comps.

Here’s what these online-sourced comps might be missing

Before you set out on your DIY comps adventure, note that the information displayed on the web can’t be taken % at face value. Data integrity and context can be an issue when you start collecting information on comparable sales on the web.

Here we’ll go through the most common issues you may run into.

Inaccurate “sold” prices.

The majority of the details found in online “sold” listings are correct, such as square footage, number of rooms, and the listing prices.

It’s the sold prices—the most important data you’ll need from your comps—that’s not guaranteed to be complete or correct.

For starters, on some of these sites—including Zillow and Trulia— anyone can create listings directly on the site, kind of like Wikipedia.

Plus, for agents, these sites are largely used as marketing tools. They’re useful for providing the photos, descriptions, and details on their available listings directly to buyers house shopping online.

Once a home sells, updating that data in the marketing materials isn’t a top priority.

Swecker advises, “There’s a large percentage of Realtors that do not give their sold data to the online sites because it has to be manually entered.” So even when a listing is marked as “sold” on these sites, the dollar amount given may still be the list price, not the sold price.

The sold price also may fail to reflect any seller concessions, or money the sellers had to pay to repair the garage, replace the carpet, or cover the buyer’s fees at closing.

Outdated, incomplete listing information.

Keep in mind that online real estate listing sites pull their property data from the MLS. This means that only the MLS will have the most up-to-date data, and not every listing portal will have complete location coverage.

Listings missing from the MLS.

There may be some nearby home sales that won’t show up on these online sites at all, because they were never entered into the MLS in the first place.

Known as pocket listings, these are private listings that agents sell for their clients within their own private network of buyers. Even if they aren’t in the MLS, the sold prices on these pocket listings can impact your home’s current market value.

Recent property upgrades not mentioned online.

Say a homeowner sold their house for $,, but right before they listed it, they added an extra bathroom or remodeled the kitchen. It’s possible those property details didn’t get updated on the online listing sites.

Not realizing this, you may mistakenly group a property into your comps pool without realizing it’s actually off in bathroom count, or without adjusting your list price for the upgraded kitchen.

So, now that you know how tricky it is to find comps, the truth is&#;that’s actually the easy part. The hard part comes once it’s time to analyze the data they provide.

A woman pointing out house comps on a tablet to a man.

What goes into a comps analysis?

Setting your price isn’t as simple as listing at the average sold price of your available comps. In some cases you’re better off listing at less than the average comps—in other cases you’re safe to list for thousands more than the most recently sold home.

So how do you figure it all out?

The truth is, analyzing real estate comps is both a science and an art.

It starts with the science when you begin comparing the statistics—not just the sold price, but data like the lot size, square footage, and the number of rooms.

The distance between your house and the comps plays a role, too—but that stat is a little more murky, because neighborhoods can shift dramatically, even in the span of a mile.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that all homes are unique. Let’s take two comps that have the same lot size as your home. However, one has a smaller footprint because it has a second story, and the second has a bit more square footage due to a bonus room, but a smaller backyard.

Which one has more “value?”

That’s where the art comes in. In some areas, two-story homes are desirable because it means they’ll have a bigger backyard. In other areas, slightly larger, single-story homes are worth more because stairs limit accessibility.

An infographic showing where home value lies.

This also holds true for upgrades and finishes.

It’s safe to say that a home with marble countertops is likely worth more than one with laminate countertops. But do those marble countertops make it more valuable than one with granite, quartz, or butcher block countertops?

To some degree, you can weigh their value based on the countertop costs, remodeling impact guides that provide Return on Investment (ROI) stats, and the pros and cons of different countertop types.

But what if those marble countertops are installed in a small, affordable house?

A buyer in the market for a budget home is unlikely to fork over a few thousand more for expensive finishes. So those expensive countertops are unlikely to add value to that starter home—and may even decrease the value if, for example, the luxury upgrade increases the insurance costs.

Remodels, upgrades, and bonus features aren’t all equal. Their added value to a home can change, and not only based on age (how long it’s been in the home), or type. Their perceived value can shift based on what buyers are looking for.

For example, in some real estate markets buyers are clamoring for granite countertops—but in other areas, engineered quartz is all the rage.

Online resources can give you a picture of national real estate market trends, but to get a picture of the local market, you’ll need to do some legwork.

A great place to start is by touring local open houses to chat up a series of local real estate agents about current market trends in home features. Then you can make your valuation assessments based off of what you learn.

A female real estate agent helping find home comps on a computer.

When in doubt, talk to a real estate agent about finding comps for your house

Real estate agents have direct access to the most accurate comps data in the MLS. They also have years of experience spent studying shifts in local market trends, since after all, their livelihood depends on that knowledge.

Agents won’t just pull the comps for you, they’ll compile and analyze the data in a report known as a comparative market analysis (CMA).

Real estate agencies have developed sophisticated digital tools to compile their CMAs. These tools comb through and rate all of the data pulled from the best comps to give you the clearest picture of your home’s current market value.

Then they further finesse those numbers provided by the CMA with their own personal knowledge of buyer trends and market swings.

After that, they’ll contact their network of brokers and bankers who can give them an idea (if not the hard numbers) on currently pending sales.

And the beauty of all of this is: you don’t have to hire an agent to get a CMA. Agents will pull comps and put together a CMA for free to bring to the introductory meeting as part of their sales pitch.

For example, if you use HomeLight, you’ll get multiple referrals to top agents with track records of successful home sales in your specific neighborhood. You’re then free to interview as many as you wish.

Each will bring a CMA and give you their personal, expert analysis of the data. You’re then free to make your decision on hiring one of the agents.

Going with an agent is the smart play because the real estate market is fluid and ever-changing. When you go it alone, you’re solely responsible to keep on top of new comps throughout the entire sales process.

For instance, let’s say a pending sale closes two days before you’re set to list your home. The list price will need to be adjusted accordingly—if you’ve spotted the closed sale in time.

You’ll even need to keep an eye on pending and recently closed sales after you’ve accepted an offer, too. Otherwise, a nearby home that’s just sold for less than yours can tank your appraisal.

If you’ve hired a top-tier agent, you’ve got an advocate who’ll be keeping on top of new comps from before your home is listed until the closing documents are signed, sealed and delivered.

Finding and analyzing comps to nail down the right list price is tricky business for any homeowner to tackle alone—but it can be done. Thankfully, there are plenty of expert agents around who are willing and able to do the work for you.

Sours: https://www.homelight.com/blog/comps-for-my-house/

Sold properties zillow

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ZILLOW is Manipulating the Housing Market. They Need to Stop.

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