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How do I determine the actual value of a house when I am coming up with an offer?

The house my husband and I are interested in was built in the 1930's with the highest quality attention to detail and there are no other homes like it in the area.  The owners began listing it at 975,000 and have continued to drop it and it is now listed at 599,000.  Regardless of the asking price, how do we figure out it's true value and make an off that hopfully won't offend the sellers?
  • November 04 2010 - Town of Durham
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Answers (9)

I am an experienced CT appraiser. As part of my business I help people in your situation regularly. Most of the time I do it over the phone/email with out charging. If you would like shoot me an email at advappraisals@gmail.com or advappraisals.net Good luck.. 
  • December 26 2010
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When a property is one of a kind, it is always recommend it to get a licensed appraiser to make your decision to buy it. My question is if the property was listed for almost a $million, and then they lower the price down to $599,000 it must be a reason to do that.After you got the right price for this property and desire to continue with the transaction is will be good to get a good home inspector and make all the investigations...just in case.
  • December 17 2010
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Hire a LOCAL and experience appraiser, or at least ask their advice...Ask around or you can use this link...

https://www.asc.gov/National-Registry/FindAnAppraiser.aspx
  • December 17 2010
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When faced with a property that is difficult to value, relying on judgment is unavoidable.   However, first test it against the market yourself.    Get the comp sales in the town for the last year or so, from 400k to 600k.   In choosing these comps, choose homes that are alternatives to buyers who might consider this home. Drive by these homes yourself, with listings in hand, and evaluate the subject home in comparison to those viable alternatives. DO IT YOURSELF. This is far more useful that hearing an opinion from any secondary source.    You can discuss what you have observed with your agent, and they can help you with a detailed analysis...but the best knowledge of the market is gained directly.    The approximate value of the home should be reasonably obvious.   You will have to fine tune by analysis, judgment and negotiation.

John Herman
CEO The Buyer's Represetnative Real Estate Co.
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  • December 15 2010
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There is no law against you getting an appraisal from a reputable appraiser on your own.  Sure, it will cost you a few dollars but if you truly want to know ~ what is the harm.  The appraiser will probably even be able to have some good conversation with you as well.  All day long they are the experts on values, wheither we like it or not.  If you are using a lender you might ask them to recommend an appraiser on their list for you.
JUST TO BE VERY CLEAR - you will only be getting this appraisal for your own personal use.  Don't even ask a lender to use it ... they can't and they won't. 
Here is another thought - if your personal use appraisal is done in a close time frame to the lender's appraisal it could very well be useful to compare apples to apples.
Sincerely,
Celia
  • November 04 2010
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Try zillow sold comps in your area, or have a realtor to get the best comps for your area.
  • November 04 2010
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The initial price to use for your offer should be a test to see how truly motivated the seller is. Someone here once said that if you don't offend the sellers, your offer was too high. There are many reason outside of a CMA that will determine that price, first on the ist being how strong your offer is.  As a buyer you happen to be in the driver's seat at this point in time, so if you don't exercise power now, you may regret it later.
In your own mind you will so have a value that you might be willing to agree upon which might be based on a CMA, but that value should be conservative in this market unless you otherwise live within your means.

  • November 04 2010
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Values is determined by comparable sales.  Have your agent check into this for you, if you did not have an agent (shame on you ;~), then you can do it yourself (not recommended) or have an appraiser do it for you and tell them you want the market value.  Don't use comps given to you by the seller or listing agent, if there is one.  They look out for the seller, not you.  If you do have an agent representing you who is also the listing agent and you are comfortable and trust them, you could use their comps.

Assuming you are financing the home, you will need an appraisal and you will have a 'second opinion' that will stop you from paying too much.
  • November 04 2010
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You need to use similar comps in the area and make additions/deductions to price of the COMPS to find out what the comps would sell for if they were the same.  Keep in mind not all upgrades add value and there comes a point where you maximize a homes price potential and additional upgrades no longer add value. 
  • November 04 2010
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