Determining the Value of a Home

When you are thinking about selling one big question comes to mind… how much can you get?  This one little fact can be the biggest factor in deciding if now is the right time for you to sell. For example, if you owe more on the house than what you can get for your home, staying put until the market improves would be in your best interest. There are several misconceptions about how a property’s value is determined, but here’s the real truth.

Your home is not worth what you paid for it, what you want for it, or in many cases the list price. Your agent is unable to determine a price based on what you desire versus what the market is actually commanding. The current market should guide you as to what your house should be listed for and give you an idea of what you can expect to get for your house. However, the ultimate deciding factor is how much a buyer is willing to pay.

There are several factors that buyers consider when evaluating what they feel the correct price for a property should be:

LOCATION – Location is the single most important factor in determining the value of your property. Is it near good schools and amenities? Is it in an area the buyer wants to live?

CONDITION – The condition of the property affects the price and the speed of the sale. As prospective buyers often make purchases based on emotion, first impressions are important. Curb appeal and staging can go a long way to improving the way buyers see the condition of your home.

COMPETITION – Prospective buyers are going to compare your property—both the condition and the price—to the other listings in and around your neighborhood. Those buyers will determine value, based on properties that are listed or have recently sold in the area.

TIMING – The longer your house sits on the market, the more buyers may dismiss it, thinking there are problems with it. A buyer can’t help but wonder why a house hasn’t sold if it’s on the market longer than the other properties, and the thoughts are never good. If it’s been on the market too long, they won’t pay as much for it as one that is newly listed.

There are lots of online tools to help you find an estimate for your home’s value. The best way to get an accurate understanding and expectation is to speak to a local real estate expert who can provide you with the latest market conditions in your neighborhood along with an intuitive interpretation of what buyers are looking for locally. That way, you are setting yourself up for success regardless of the market conditions.

Helen Oliveri is a 12-year real estate professional who loves our community and helping clients achieve their real estate goals is her priority. She is the managing broker of the newly opened Keller Williams Realty Partners, home of The Helen Oliveri Team in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, where she also resides. Feel free to visit the new office in Cherry Hill Plaza at 101 W. Gilmer Road or online at