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Comparable Sales and Valuing Your Home

Comparable Sales and Valuing Your Home

By Ben Kubic

We’ve added a new comparable sales home value tool to our main site to help homeowners who are just starting the process of selling their home get a better idea of what it’s worth. By entering your street address, zip code, and email address, we’ll show you up to 5 comparable homes (or comps, in industry lingo) that recently sold and some data from those sales (we use data provided by Zillow). While we hope this tool will provide a frame of reference for what your home may be worth, I wanted to clarify how it should be interpreted (and not interpreted).

How should I view these comps?

These comps provide a good starting point to understand how much other homes like yours sold for; however, this is not the only measure of your home’s value, and it shouldn’t be taken as such. We could easily have generated a price for your house using its size and the average price per square foot of the comps, but we decided against it because it would offer a misleading view of your home’s actual value. Unfortunately, Zillow heavily relies on this method when developing its Zestimates, and, as mentioned in my first blog post, even they admit their estimates can be off by upwards of 20%.

When Properly (and any other good appraiser or broker) appraises your house and recommends a listing price, we look at many more factors than just comps. Upgrades to your houses, a large backyard, and additional bedrooms and bathrooms can all add value to your house. Adjacency to a highway, unkempt neighbors’ lawns, and old paint can all depreciate the value. House appraisal is as much art as it is science, which is why, as much as we believe in using technology to reduce costs, we have an experienced appraiser conduct a market analysis, look at your professional photographs, and examine your neighborhood before recommending a list price.

What does “Properly Savings” mean?

The data on the comps doesn’t tell us how those homeowners sold their home (with an agent or by themselves) or how much they paid in broker commissions, but we wanted to highlight the savings possible by using Properly over a traditional broker. We assumed all the comps paid a 3% listing commission (the other 2.5 – 3% is assumed to have gone to a buyer’s broker, which is the same with Properly), and compared that cost against Properly’s $5,000 flat fee.

Why couldn’t you find comps for my house?

We use data provided by Zillow to find comps for your house. Zillow has an extremely large database of homes in the US, but it is not 100% accurate, and I’ve noticed empirically that it is especially poor when it comes to apartments in urban settings. If your house doesn’t come up, it’s likely either because the address was spelled wrong or Zillow doesn’t have it in its database. If you end up working with Properly, our agent’s manually look through area comps to find the best ones, so it won’t matter whether Zillow has your address or not.

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