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How To (Properly) Determine Your Home's Value

Man and woman touring an empty house
There are many tools you can use to determine your home's value.

Whether you’re ready to sell or just want to know how much your assets are worth, knowing the value of your house is always a smart idea.

There are several indicators that you can use when determining the value of your house. When it comes to estimating the value of a property, accuracy is paramount.

Some indicators are more important than others and carry more weight.

The Trouble With Online Calculators

If you've been using a search engine to look for ways to estimate the value of your home, odds are, you've come across quite a few "home value calculators."

While these might seem easy to use, they're not very accurate. Some of the better home value calculators might give you an idea of what your property is worth, but it will be a ballpark figure to be taken with a grain of salt.

Even if you add all of your home's new upgrades and other features, the results are based on the average square footage of your home, not necessarily if you have any special features or an underground pool in the backyard.

All they care about is location and size. Getting an opinion from a human being, who can come and look at your home to see the true value is a better option.

Add up Improvements That You’ve Made to the Property

One thing you should do when determining your home's value is to add up all of the improvements you've made to the property since you've owned it.

  • Have you built a new deck? That's value, add it up!

  • Repainted the bathrooms? That’s value, add it up!

  • Installed some landscaping and a rock garden? That’s value, add it up!

You get the idea.

All of those Summer projects that you undertook can and will pay off when it's time to sell your property.

Remember, the more value you add to your property, the higher your taxes will be. It's only fair that you get some of that money back by selling your home for what it's worth!

Look at Your Taxes

There’s a handy dandy little figure that you can find appended to your property tax documents called a SEV.

That little beaut can help you get a relatively accurate idea of how much your property is worth. SEV stands for "state equalized value."

Once you find that number, double it. When you double your SEV, you’ll have a figure that represents an approximate value on your home.

For example, if your SEV is $44,000, your home may be worth around $88,000. Simple enough, right?

While this can be useful, you should still get a second opinion from a professional appraiser to be sure.

Keep in mind, however, it’s generally a bad idea to sell your property for much less than its SEV.

If you're being taxed for a property in the $200,000 range, you shouldn't accept an offer less than $190,000 unless you need the money or have other extenuating circumstances.

Why You Should Hire an Appraiser

In the long run, a professional appraiser is going to give you the most accurate results.

You can run all of the calculations you want and start with an asking price of your choosing. Still, when it comes down to it, buyers are going to value an appraiser's opinion more than anything found on the internet.

Property appraisers are trained professionals, often sporting years of experience under their belts.

Whether they give you the value you were hoping for or not, their word is respected by banks, buyers, and other interests because they are considered highly accurate.

Visit Open Houses

When houses in your area go up for sale, check out the open houses to see what you’re competing with.

Look closely at:

  • Features

  • Listing prices

  • And upgrades

That have been done to the homes.

Compare your home’s features with the houses’ up for sale, see what you can do to improve, or maybe even areas that you’ve already improved that the sale homes’ haven’t had done.

While you’re there, you can get the names of the realtors selling the homes to get in contact with them.

Once you’ve established good contact, you can ask them questions on how to up your home’s value.

Realtors have the ins and outs of homes all over town, not just in your neighborhood.

They see list prices and how much homes are being sold for, which is the basis of how much your home could be worth if it were to sell that day.

You can also get their opinions on what to do next after you’ve consulted with an appraiser.

Selling Your House for What it’s Worth

Now that you know more about how to find the value of your home, you should apprise yourself of the nuances of selling a home.

Once an appraiser has provided you with an accurate depiction of your property value, you are ready to sell.

Any buyer who bemoans the asking price can be kindly referred to the appraiser’s recommendation. Having that appraisal will help you command an appropriate value for your property.

Do Your Homework Before You Update Your Home

Drop those tools! Before you begin those home improvement projects, take a look at your home's value. This way, you know if getting those new windows in or putting in landscaping will up your home's value in the right ways.

Your home may need different upgrades than what you're planning on doing to it. You can also see how much value you're adding to your home.

Your House May Be Worth Less Than Expected

We've spoken a lot about adding the value of any upgrades you've made to your house. However, we haven't talked about what could drag the value of your property down.


You know what they say about real estate:

Location, location, location.

The location of your house has a direct impact on its value.

For example: One of your neighbors at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac may have just sold for $200,000.

Your house could be exactly the same.

  • Same bed/bath count

  • Same square footage

  • Same everything

But your house is sitting right on a busy road.

Despite everything else being equal, your house will have its value reduced due to the less desirable location.


The longer we live in our homes, the fewer issues we seem to notice with them.

In our eyes, everything is perfect, and nothing needs to be fixed.

If you've lived in a property for years without performing any repairs or maintenance, the property most likely needs some updating.

  • When was the roof last replaced?

  • When was the electrical last inspected?

  • When did you last check the plumbing for rust?

  • When was the HVAC last serviced

  • Have you serviced the sewer/septic system since you bought the house?

  • And so on

If the answers to these questions are "never" or "a long time ago," it's very likely these systems will need some TLC. They may even need to be replaced to make the home ready for a new buyer.

Deferred maintenance and repairs will cause the value of your property to shrink.


Another thing you need to consider is the school district your house is in.

You may no longer be putting kids through the school system, but your buyers might be.

If an identical house across the street from you sold for $200,000 and is in a 10/10 school district, your house will likely sell for less if it’s in a much lesser rated school district.


Neighbors can affect your home's value, as well. Unfortunately, if your house is in tip-top shape, but all the neighbors' houses and yards are falling apart, it may cause buyers to perceive your home's value as less.

Poor Presentation

Lastly is your presentation. Generally speaking, shinny is better and worth more, right?

When selling your house, you should do everything you can to make it shine.

  • Do a deep cleaning

  • Stage it beautifully

  • And enhance your curb appeal

Cleaning and staging won’t double your property’s value, but it can help you command the highest price possible.

Ready To Sell? Consider Selling To A Direct Home Buyer

Are you ready to sell your house? It may make sense for you to sell to a direct home buyer like Contenza Properties.

We buy houses in their as-is condition, so if you don’t want to:

  • Do any cleaning or staging

  • Pay any fees or commission

  • Or list the house on the MLS

Contacting us could be the right option for you.

We buy houses with cash or terms and work with you to make the best offer we can.

Use our simple form below to submit your information. One of our friendly representatives will reach out to you shortly.

About The Author

Jordan Reid - Founder of Contenza Properties

Jordan Reid founded Contenza Properties in April of 2018 to help homeowners solve their real estate problems quickly.

Since then, Jordan has helped multiple homeowners facing difficult situations such as divorce, property liens, and unwanted property inheritance.

Jordan believes in putting people first, and numbers second, which helps him reach the best possible solutions for the homeowners he works with.

Currently, Jordan and his team at Contenza Properties offer their professional home buying services in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

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