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It is important to understand there are three values to any property.
The most of important of which (for most people) is Market Value.
Market Value is what a ready willing and able Buyer (who is competent to enter into a binding contract) will pay for your property. This can be determined by a good local Realtor when they prepare a market analysis for you. You should let whomever you are speaking with your timeframe for getting it sold. It's a simple matter of supply and demand. A balanced market is 6 months worth of supply. Above that and it's a Buyer's market, below that a Sellers market. Depending on your motivation you should price accordingly.
Appraised Value is what a licensed Appraiser feels the property is worth, this is the number a lender will use when a Buyer is looking for a mortgage. Appraised and Market values should be very close.
Lastly there is Assessed or Tax Value. This is only important in terms of what a property owner will pay in property taxes. These number only rarely coincide with actual Market Value for the simple reason that they are a "point in time" number. Tax assessments are typically done every 4-8 years depending on where you live. Some States mandate tax values to be 100% of market value, other do not. Regardless of what is mandated, the value assigned by the tax assessor are really only good the moment their done and remain static until the next assessment. The market however is likely changing either up or down, this is why looking at a tax value doesn't give a buyer any more information on the real market value of a property, all it tells them is how much they will pay in property taxes.
The method that you choose depends upon your needs. If you are thinking about selling your home or possibly refinancing and do not want to spend money for an appraisal until you have a rough estimate, you can ask a local real estate agent to pull up recent comparable sales. Have them provide a comparative market analysis. Keep in mind, an appraisal is not necessarily the most accurate estimate of value. They use past sales and are generally discouraged from giving you additional value over the last sale in an increasing market.Sometimes there are few or no recent comparable sales. Appraisers also will not usually give you less value from the last sale in a declining market. Some homes are hard to find recent comparable sales to compare them to. Lastly, nobody really knows what your house is worth until someone is actually willing to buy it. I have seen countless agents have their clients pay for an appraisal to determine a selling price and have the home sell for far less. Of course, some homes and neighborhoods are easier to determine values than others.Rich Bosselmannwww.RichBosselmann.com
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