top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatthew Leffler

Knowing a Home's Value Can Make All the Difference

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

A Home And Knowing Its Value
Only a comparison report knows a home's value.

I’m a bad negotiator. Sometime at art fairs I want a painting that speaks to me. I worry that I could insult someone if I suggest something too low. Half the time I see the prices and can’t imagine that it's worth that price.

I ended up deciding it was best if I walked away from negations as the likely loser and that Karma would repay me later. Karma has largely, but I’ve realized through these small transactions something that I won’t forget when making a big transaction.

Buying a home may be the largest transaction you will ever make. Knowing a home’s value is an obvious and essential part of bidding on it. Being off by 10% on a $500 painting is recoverable, but being off by 10% on a home’s value is expensive.

Zillow Guesses It

The home I rent now in Louisville, is listed as worth $220,000 by Zillow, but is it? I don’t know. But if I were to buy it, after having rented it, I'd know the basement can easily flood in the rain and that needs to be fixed.

Zillow doesn’t know a home’s value just from deeds and computer models. They also don’t know that I have a half bathroom on the first floor, but we never use it because whoever did it used the wrong pipes so it’s actually a closet now. Zillow thinks that room adds value to this home. On paper I assume a half bath adds to a home’s value but what's actually true isn't always revealed on paper.

What Goes into Comparison Reports

Property values are a somewhat complex thing. They were complex enough that no one seemed to realize in 2008 that the housing bubble was about to pop. Property values, according to the, are composed of:

  • Supply and Demand

  • Interest Rates

  • Economic Growth

  • Demographics (Migration of population)

  • Location

  • Room to Move

  • A Second Bathroom

  • Parking

  • Home Improvements

Costs of Over Paying for a Home

At 3.92% interest using a 30-yr mortgage, I found in my research that over paying on this home by just $10,000 or 4.5% will cost $47 a month or $17,021 after all is said and done. That’s me just giving the seller $10,000 and then helping the bank out with $7000 for absolutely no reason other than the fact that I was unprepared.

I’ve thought about buying the house but that math alone has convinced me to get comparison reports before I even approach a seller with interest. Knowing that over paying by as little as 10% could cost me $40,000, I’d prefer to get 2 or 3 comps reports from several agents. The low cost associated with 3 reports is a no-brainer.

Arrive to Open Houses Ready

I read in a recent article on that it’s good to show enthusiasm to the seller as long as you don’t get attached too quickly. “You’ve done your homework. You know what the home values are in the area.” I also read to keep in mind that, during the open house, the realtor is not your realtor, so there is no need to provide information on your budget.

The best means for me to get over my negations phobia and be an active party in the largest purchase I’ll likely ever make comes down to educating myself on comparisons of similar home sales in the area. Knowing a home's true value is the foundation of a successful transaction.

Contributed by

76 views0 comments


bottom of page