Top Atlanta Real Estate
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Here at Top Atlanta Real Estate, we receive this question all the time. What is my house worth? What you are really asking is "what does an independent appraiser think my house is worth?" because ultimately, it is that opinion that matters. Unless a buyer is paying cash and doesn't care what the house value is in the open market, most people need a mortgage and a lender need to do a full appraisal evaluation of the home's worth before lending money and agreeing to the purchase price.
The latest appraisals have been very close to sales price as appraisers are more and more conservative when it comes to pricing and establishing value. But how does an appraiser make their decisions? The same way we would, as realtors, evaluate the market value and tell you where to list and finally, sell your home. And when the appraiser comes to your home, he will evaluate the worth based on point systems, add some for good points and take away points for negative attributes. But it all starts with determining what has sold in the past 6 months within a 5 miles radius (If nothing has sold, he has to increase the radius). He needs at least 3 other homes with which to compare.
First, we start with location. It's not just about where you are located in the city but it's also about the lot location. For instance, land inside the perimeter of Atlanta is considered a premium but even within those borders, there are areas which are much more valuable than others. Having power lines or commercial businesses right near your home is a negative. Big yards are a positive. Lots of land/acreage can also increase the worth. Have a level driveway is a benefit. Some houses have no driveway and no backyards and if compared exactly to houses that do, it might be seen as "lesser."
Next, the determination goes to number of bedrooms and baths. Of course, the more the better. We don't typically quote square footage in Georgia because of the inability to completely validate this number. Sometimes it comes from tax records, or an agent attempts to count it, or even the owner. But you really can't miss with bedrooms and bathrooms. Please be aware that bedrooms must have a built in closet and a window (for egress) to be considered a true bedroom. Otherwise, it is just seen as bonus space. And when it comes to square footage or size considerations, garages and sunrooms are NOT counted. Those are not heated and cooled spaces and therefore considered living space. Basements, especially daylight (as opposed to Yankee basements) are also added square footage space if they are finished and even if unfinished, add more value to the home's worth.
The third evaluator is school district. The exact same house in two different school districts might be evaluated differently based on the rankings. See www.greatschools.org to compare various school districts all over the nation. If the districts are close in rank, it won't make much of a difference. But if your home is in the best school district in town and you compare with one that ranks a 2, that will affect pricing.
Upgrades are the next consideration. Garages, in any size, are always more desirable than carports. Identical houses next to each other will appraise differently if one has a two car garage and the other doesn't. Newer materials inside the home are also important. The trend is for granite countertops, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances. These are all enhancements and not absolutely necessary but certainly beneficial as you compete in this market. Mouldings are another great addition and easy to install to add value to your home.
So what is the bottom line? If you really want to know what your home is worth, just call us. We can also let you know what are low cost things you can do to get your home on the market fast and get the most money for your effort. We will certainly counsel you on what NOT to put money into so that you don't overspend on improvements.