What is the Fair Market Value of Homes?

Market Value of Sacramento HomesHome sellers in Sacramento often ask me how much is my home worth when that’s not really what they want to know. They want to know how much will their home sell for, and that could be two very different numbers. On the other hand, they might want to know if they can do a short sale, in which case the answer is always, without fail: the price will be market value, based on comparable sales, providing the seller qualifies.

It’s not the sellers’ fault. Sacramento real estate can be a big confusing can o’ worms. I imagine sellers hear all kinds of crap from neighbors, coworkers, relatives and others whom, even though they might have actually sold a home or two, haven’t worked with an agent who works the way the one in front of you does.

People think it’s OK to hit up an agent for a sales price. Why do they think it? Because real estate agents have encouraged them to behave in that manner. Why else, we think, would anybody ever want to talk to us unless it’s to find out how much their home is worth — its market value? We’ll give them a free Comparative Market Analysis. Free, because it’s not worth anything.

Before I was licensed, I dismissed agents from the possibility of listing my home because they lowballed me on market value. At least that’s what I thought. Because I didn’t really understand how market value is determined. You can’t just give an agent your address and expect that person to name an accurate number. Maybe a range. Not a precise sales price.

I wouldn’t even give my next-door neighbor a sales price without completing an in-depth analysis of his features and studying the past 3 months of sales as they pertain to his home, and I live next door to him. I also sell hundreds of homes. I should know, right? Because I am a Sacramento real estate agent, I keep pretty close tabs on what my own home is worth, but I couldn’t give you an exact number on my house — even if you stuck burning toothpicks under my fingernails and sang horrible 1980’s songs out loud — without an analysis.

Agents who do might short change. I’m not one of those.

Elizabeth Weintraub

About Elizabeth Weintraub

40+ years of experience in real estate, Sacramento real estate broker working at Lyon Real Estate in Midtown Sacramento. Author of The Short Sale Savior. Home Buying Expert at About.com. Top Producer, ranks in the top 1% of all real estate agents in Sacramento Region. Life Member of Master's Club awarded by Sacramento Association of REALTORS.
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