When I begin working with a new seller, I immediately put their neighborhood or zip-code on my watch list (if it isnt' already on it), and pay close attention to any new activity.
When new listings pop up that are very suitable comps, I'll make an appointment to preview. Comps and credibility are not only important when talking to clients, but also when it is time for the appraisal.
I make every effort to meet with the appraiser in person and will present pertinent information that the appraiser may otherwise not be aware of.
By doing my homework, I am in the best position to share information that supports the value of my listing. I am able to explain why I disregarded one comp that looked so perfect on paper, or made bigger than usual adjustments for another. I am not only relying on public information and MLS print-outs because they simply don't tell the whole story.
By viewing a comp myself, I learn facts that I would otherwise not know about. Last week I toured a few homes in 20901 Silver Spring, two of which I'll most definitely include as comps when nailing down the price point with my sellers and when meeting with the appraiser.
One of the comps was listed as a 3 bedroom in the MLS and all public records. But it is not. To create a more open concept and a music room, the current owners eliminated one bedroom. There was a note explaining what had been done and how easy it would be to turn it back into a bedroom, but the fact is, it's now a 2 bedroom home.
The other home looked just so charming and perfect in all its pictures but in reality, while still charming, it wasn't near as perfect. There was some cracked tile in the bathroom, and all the gorgeous wood floors throughout creaked horribly. There were some maintenance items that should have been done, and a yard in need of TLC.
These two are perfect examples why I preview comps. Home facts can be flawed, public records wrong, and virtual tours do not tell the whole story.
Only in-person will you hear the floors creak throughout, see the mildew stains on the caulk and not hear the fan turn on, realize that the yard pictures are from years past, and the 3rd bedroom is no more. These are pertinent facts that are written nowhere, nor can they be learned from a drive-by.
Comps and credibility as a listing agent