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Charles Brawn's Blog

By Charles Brawn | Agent in Camden, ME

What is my home worth?

After several years of challenging market conditions, the real estate sector is starting to come back to life.  As we begin to see optimism in housing and across the broader economy, it is normal to start wondering what your house may be worth today.  Your home surely has sentimental value and harbors great memories.  Additionally, it is probably one of the biggest financial assets in your possession.  For that reason, it is important to get accurate and comprehensive information from a reputable professional.

In a complex world, defining the value of a home can be confusing.  The town sends you a property tax bill.  That tax bill assesses a value to your home.  It is important to remember that a town tax assessment is strictly for the purpose of collecting municipal real estate taxes.  In some towns, the assessment is very close to a true and accurate market value.  In other towns, assessed value may be 20-30% higher or lower than market value.

Another term often used when determining the value of a home is appraisal.  Appraisals are conducted by professionally licensed appraisers who work within a very specific set of guidelines to ascertain a value.  Since the federal government enacted financial reform measures in 2010, the parameters that all appraisers must use are extremely rigid.

An appraisal represents a snap shot in time.  If you purchased your home with bank financing, an appraisal was most certainly done at the time of purchase.  Subsequent appraisals may have been done for refinancing.  It is crucial to understand that an appraisal has a shelf life of between 90 days and 6 months.  Constant fluctuations in the real estate market in general as well as changes that may occur in your specific neighborhood can substantially change the accuracy of an appraisal.

The most accurate way to get a sense of what your house is worth is through a real estate professional.  Real estate professionals can look at market trends in your town and use data including recent sales data of comparable homes in your neighborhood.  A real estate professional can take many factors in to account and give you the most accurate idea of what your home is worth.

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