How to Use Real Estate Comparable Sales

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by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden

in Consumer Information,Huntsville Home Buyer Tips

As we have written on multiple occasions, it is almost always the buyers in a real estate market, who set the current market value of a property. To assess the current market value of a local Huntsville property, many local real estate professionals and savvy home buyers alike will look at Huntsville Real Estate comparable sales to determine the current market value of a local home.

What Are Comparable Sales

Unlike viewing public asking prices, Huntsville Real Estate comparables (i.e., comps) can show you exactly what local properties are selling for. Thus if you can find 3 to 4 recent comparable sales, say in the last 6 -12 months, for homes with similar characteristics then you can determine what the market value is of the home you are currently investigating and adjust your offer price accordingly.

However comparable sales detail may not always be easy to come by, as they could be from a few years ago, or may not have the same characteristics such as a comparable lot size, or they could be a considerable distance from the subject property. In order to work around this problem, you must use the closest Huntsville Real Estate Comparable that you can and simply adjust your offer price according to the changes in the market or property characteristics. For example, if a comparable sale was from 5 years ago, you can adjust the price according to the appreciation the area has experienced in the last few years.

Thus finding the true current market value of a Huntsville Real Estate Property can take some investigation and adjustment in relation to the properties that have sold in the past. The more recent and similar the comparable sale is the more accurately you can assess the true value of the property you are interested in. Moreover you must also consider the source of your comparable sales data, where did it come from?

Where to Get Comparable Sales

If your comparables are very similar and originated from public records then you are on a sturdy foundation. However many consumers will elect to work directly with a listing agent whose comparables must be viewed with some criticism.

Since the listing agent works for the seller and owes fiduciary obligations to their client, the comparables you receive from a listing agent, although legitimate, may be jaded to reflect the best possible outcome for their client, the home seller. Thus having your own trusted representation via a buyer’s agent whose fiduciary duties are for your best outcome is something to consider seriously.

Protecting Your Offer With Contingencies

In the end, Huntsville Real Estate Comparable Sales are really the only way you can determine the true value of a property without spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on professional appraisal services. Thus when making an offer always add an out-option dependency on the outcome of a professional appraisal.

Often times a mortgage contingency will facilitate this protection, because without an appropriate appraisal outcome, the mortgage company will not close on the loan. However if you are paying cash or putting significant down payment funds into a transaction, be sure to explicitly add an appraisal contingency to facilitate this protection.

If you have any questions or wish further information on Huntsville Comparable Sales please don’t hesitate to email or give me a call 256-425-1659.

Happy House Hunting,


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The data relating to Huntsville AL Real Estate on this Web site derive in part from the Valley MLS IDX datashare program. © 2016 Valley MLS, Inc. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.

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Huntsville, AL 35806

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