One of the most important factors in selling your home is the sales price. Here’s how to find out what your house may actually be worth.

Comparative Pricing

Value is a relative term. One owner’s quaint little cottage may be another’s airless old money pit. Obviously, then, you need some basis of objectivity – and you can find it by rating your house against other houses that are for sale in your neighborhood. Find out their sale prices, and then compare them in size to yours. Specifically, you should compare the number of bedrooms and baths with yours, and then factor in other distinctions such as the overall condition of each house, the size and appeal of the lots, architectural style and any extra amenities that might add to desirability.

You can also turn to your real estate agent for a more comprehensive method of house comparison via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This will allow you to look at current asking prices, as well as selling prices. You can count on your agent’s frankness if you are asking too much. He or she knows what people in the area are actually getting, as well as the history and trends, and the home improvement projects that affect prices in the neighborhood. Work with your agent to factor in all the qualitative aspects of your home.

Neighborhood

Location, location, location. Agents will tell you the worst house in the best neighborhood is worth more than the best house in the worst neighborhood. Considerations to include in your deliberations are neighborhood schools, community services, public transportation, and the general upkeep of other nearby homes.

It’s the heart of first look emotional appeal, or “curb appeal.” After a long day at the office, the welcoming sight of home as you pull into the driveway can rejuvenate the soul.

Floor Plan

The layout of a house really directs how people will live in it. For example, a family that enjoys entertaining often may prefer an open plan, like the kind found in many contemporary houses. But for those people who prefer their privacy and desire more room for quiet, a traditional design of smaller, closed-off rooms will catch their eye. Ideally, a house can provide a balance of public and private areas.

Tranquility in Trappe
Photo Courtesy of Brian Gearhart, Benson and Mangold Real Estate

Appealing Details

Custom-made items such as built-ins, draperies, or special appliances that you are willing to leave behind can add value to the house. Likewise, fine architectural elements such as handcrafted wood molding, aristocratically tall ceilings, and dramatic windows (preferably revealing a breathtaking view) definitely rank high on the tally sheet. So be sure to show them to their best advantage.

Major improvements may yield attractive returns at resale time. An updated kitchen or a second bath are major buyer attractions. On the other hand, pools and spas may be perceived by prospective buyers as more trouble than they are worth.

Taxes

City and county tax structures can have a significant effect on the value of a house. A municipality with lower property taxes can generally command a higher price tag, for example.

Other Factors

Housing is still a commodity that is subject to the laws of supply and demand. Talbot County is a growing community, with new jobs and thriving industries, so you will see that housing prices have risen.

Above all, pricing is more of an art than a science. Ask yourself how motivated you are to sell, whether you can wait, or even if the selling price will leave you short with the bank at settlement. Talk to your real estate agent. You may not like what you hear, or you may be ecstatic, but at least you will be armed with a realistic, and ultimately, rewarding perspective that will help to sell your house efficiently and at a fair market price.

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