Cindy, Home Seller in Woodbridge, VA

How do I find comps without hiring a realtor?

Asked by Cindy, Woodbridge, VA Fri May 20, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


You don't have to hire a Realtor. Many/most will be willing to do a CMA on your property with no commitment or obligation.

I wouldn't use Zillow or any of the others. The so-called "comps" often aren't, and you end up comparing apples to oranges. Or--give it a try, but please don't trust the results you get.

Using the public records for recently sold homes is better. But without access to the MLS, finding properties in your community (Lake Ridge, for instance) can be difficult. And public records don't show things like seller concessions. The public record might say the house sold for $200,000. But there might have been a $6,000 seller concession. That makes the real sold price $194,000 . . . and you wouldn't know it from the public records. Also, public records can be inaccurate. Maybe someone has added onto their home, adding an extra bedroom and bath. But the public records may not show it.

In addition, though comps ARE based on sold properties, it's also important to know what's currently on the market. Remember that a house sold today probably went under contract 45-60 days ago. So a property with a fairly recent comp--say 4 months ago--may have gone under contract 6 months ago. The market can change a lot in 6 months--up or down. So while the comps may say your property is worth about $200,000, if the market's moved 5%, then your property really ought to be priced at $190,000 . . . or $210,000. Price it at $190,000 when competing properties are at $210,000, and you'll sell quickly, but for perhaps $20,000 under what you could have gotten. Price it at $210,000 when competing properties are at $190,000, and it just won't sell.

So: Don't hire a Realtor. At least not yet. But ask one (or more) for a CMA on your property.

Hope that helps.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
Oopssitis: "Comparative market analysis (CMA) is an examination of the prices at which similar properties in the same area recently sold. Real estate agents perform a comparative market analysis for their clients to help them determine a price to list when selling a home or a price to offer when buying a home." from
Flag Fri Apr 1, 2016
what is a CMA ON PROPERTY?
Flag Wed Mar 9, 2016
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Interesting response below. Wondering how many agents are aware of all the details regarding comparables you outline Ron: repairs made? Special deals? Really???

That's funny because most agents I know simply call up information on their local mls which definitely doesn't have appraisal info, repair info and special deals made.

REAs have value but being snarky with someone wondering where they can find informtion that the public has access to in many places isn't one of them.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 22, 2011
Real Estate Agents have VALUE, and this is one of them: Just finding Comp's is easy, just drive around the neighborhood, knock on every door and ask them if they just bought the house, what they paid, what was the condition, what special deals they made, what's the square footage, how many bedrooms and baths, what repairs they had to made, what was the price per square foot, what did it appraise for, and anything else that you consider relevant. You will find that most of the figures you want are confidential and YOU and everyone else in this business want them to be confidential! But, once you've gathered all this information, put it together and extrapolate the final figures that are relevant to your purchase. eg. Is that house really COMPARABLE? since no two are houses are exactly alike. If you think you can do my job for me, you have to be willing to accept the results.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 22, 2011
I forgot to mention you do have to have a real estate license to get to MLS which sucks.
Flag Thu Jun 9, 2016
All you have to do is get on MLS and type in the type of house that is comparable to the house you are selling. It doesn't take a knowledgeable person to do this. ANY ONE can do this. From what I know MLS does put the information on zillow, but of course there's always the "human error" factor.
Flag Thu Jun 9, 2016
You must have a small farm......and a lot of time on your hands...Yeah??
Flag Fri Dec 4, 2015
You must have a small farm.....and a lot of time on your hands. Yeah?
Flag Fri Dec 4, 2015
Im an investor and this isnt true. Agents give values based on what has sold " no matter the condition" If your trying to find a value of what a house will sell for after repairs you can only go by homes that are like new condition and often they just rely on the mls to tell them. You say Zillow is no good for comps, but I disagree because I can find what has sold and get a pretty accurate idea of what a house will sell for. Realtors think that they are the only ones with any idea of the real estate market. I had a house I sold to another investor at $156,000 and i told him the ARV was $265,000 after about $40,000 in rehab. His realtor told him that there was no way that house will sell for over $230,ooo and when all said and done the house sold in less than 30 days at $260,000. Agents are a great asset but by no means a necessity!
Flag Tue Apr 21, 2015
Ron - You're a jerk. I would never hire you to represent me.
Flag Wed May 22, 2013
Ron - You're a jerk. I would never hire you to represent me.
Flag Wed May 22, 2013
Ron - You're a jerk. I would never hire you to represent me.
Flag Wed May 22, 2013
If you actually do all of this, I would like to hire you....but I think you would be the exception. From my experience with realtors, they want to put in the minimal amount of effort required to facilitate as many transactions as possible. As a seller, this means they want to price your house low, and as a buyer, this means trying to sell you on a house that isn't necessarily a good deal.
Flag Fri Feb 1, 2013
Hello Cindy

I am a realtor in Woodbridge, VA. I would be happy to do a CMA for you. All I need is the address of your home and your email. I will be happy to answer any of your questions. If your intention is to sell it yourself, I will not presure you. Give me a call.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
Glenn, can you contact me as well?

Flag Wed Apr 13, 2016
Hello Cindy, I'm looking for an agent to do exactly this and would love to form a partnership of some kind with you. I'm located in Tampa, FL. If this sounds like a good idea please contact me at This is a dummy email, I don't want any spammers to email me. Ill keep an eye out for your email and exchange real contact info. Thank you
Flag Tue Mar 22, 2016
Hello, Cindy,

I am a realtor in the Woodbridge community. I went to school here, work here, and am raising my family here. It is my job to know the local market. As realtors, it is also our job to provide answers to those asking questions as it relates to real estate. I am not sure what your experiences in the past has been with realtors but we can be a great resource to you. I have a lot of friends and family who have no intent on buying or selling but are interested in knowing the local market conditions. I have no problem supplying them with the information they request. I look at it as a privilege that they would ask me when there are other options. I say all this to say that you should not feel any pressure in asking a realtor for comps. I would be more than happy to supply you with the information you are asking about. If you are indeed looking to sell on your own (FSBO), I have a plethora of information and resources to provide you. I help FSBOs on a regular basis with absolutely no obligatioin. I am sure any good realtor should be able to assist you. Don't be afraid to ask! Best of luck to you!

Marvin J. Felix
Century 21 New Millennium
12581 Milstead Way Ste 400
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 25, 2011
Good morning Mr. Felix,
My name is Keva Jackson after reading your comment. Im hoping that you will be able to provide me with a little help. I am trying to get the comps in the area of 9028 s. Throop. Chicago Illinois. This will help me in determining if I want to move forward.

Thank you
Keva Jackson
Flag Wed May 11, 2016
Hire an appraisor for the best comps & value --- will help you in whatever your goals are.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 22, 2011
Trulia will show what local homes in your area are selling for. You will, however, have to invest time into researching and comparing the properties to your property. You should also make sure that the properties you are comparing are still active, since IDX feeds from the MLS are not always up to date on thrid party websites--like Trulia. You can also search public records for what homes in your area have sold for. This will obviously take you time to do, but it is possible to find comps without hiring a realtor.

***BUT*** I think you would be better of asking a reputable agent in your area. There is no obligation to use their services, and most agents do it free of charge. It's fairly easy and quick for an agent to supply you with a CMA on your property. And who knows, you may like what that agent has to say, and decide to work with them after all!

Good Luck!

Katarina "Kata" Ford
Associate Broker, Realtor

Direct: (424) 241-6975

451 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Ste D220
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 22, 2011
That is the work we as realtors do that we do not get compensated for. It will take lots of work on your part in researching all the home sales in a particular area. Good Luck. If I can help please cll 914 589 2455

Gladys Viruet
Keller Williams Realty Sales Associate
Mobile: 914 589 2455
Fax: 914 713 3271
Office: 914 902 3277

2nd largest Realty in the country!

Find me on Facebook
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 22, 2011
I'm sure you could do it on Trulia or Zillow. However, I think you would be better of just asking a reputable agent in your area. There is no obligation to use their services and they should do it free of charge. It's pretty quick and you could just contact them through e-mail if you fear you'll get a sales pitch if you call :). Hope that helps!

Ryan Garza
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011

Realtors aren't as scary as they may seem. When interviewing agents to sell your home, they will surely bring comps. But that doesn't mean you necessarily need to hire an agent. You may decide that the comps are not high enough at this time and decide not to sell. You are never under any obligation when requesting comps, so take advantage of the many services your neighborhood Realtors can provide.

Best Wishes!

Janet Lange
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
The most accurate comps will come from the Multiple Listings Service that brokers and real estate agents have access to. However services like getting comps, and getting sales stats on different areas are free of charge and do not require any type of contracts, appointments, etc. what so ever. Realtors are there for you! Use them!
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
I have a rental property I am going to raise rent on. I wanted to know what rental properties in the same neighborhood and surrounding are renting for
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 11, 2016
You should ask a licensed realtor because its their job.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 29, 2016
even rental's
Flag Tue Oct 11, 2016
FYI, please know that the terms Realtor and real estate agent are not synoymous. Realtors belong to an organization and pay dues to use the designation. You can be a real estate agent without being a Realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 15, 2016
Would like to find comps at 8225 Ammons Cir .Arvada Colo. 80005
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 28, 2015
Most people want a comp to:
Sell their home as a FISBO (owner sell)
Looking to see the equity on their home.
or to see if there is value in selling their house before contacting a realtor.

A Realtor is a real estate agent who joins the association of realtors. (real means real property a tax term and Estate agent is the type of real property it is and that they represent one or both of the parties as an agent).

As part of the program and tools the association of realtors provides, homes that are sold are put into the MLS program and are used in many ways to provide information to the realtor. (they may not do the actual work but they pay for it, and they assess it based on the information received from actual sales reported by other agents and tax records. I know most Realtors will provide a comp (comparable) analysis at no cost to you. It is best if you find a local Realtor who has worked in the area for some time and understands the neighborhood well in order to get the most accurate comp. Comps are just an educated guess and if you want a real value report, you can hire an appraiser to get the true value of your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 10, 2014
Appraisers in this area charge $400 to $500 for an appraisal. If a Realtor will do it for free, why would one use an appraiser? What is the difference?
Flag Sun Sep 18, 2016
Hi Cindy

You don't have to hire a realtor to get comps, you can call a local realtor up or many fine ones
Responding to you.

The other way is to get in touch with county tax records

Lastly also check the local or town news paper, they give you a weekly summary what has closed.
But it will be time consuming.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
Finding comp via internets services is one thing - but its always best to work with an expert to help you interpert those results. Working with a realtor just to get comps should not cost you. May I suggest that you contact your local realtor. In today real estate enviroment it best to get an expert opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
Avery-Hess Realtors
Dwayne & Maryanne Moyers
Managing Broker (Lake Ridge Office)
13000 Harbor Drive (Tackett's Mill)
Woodbridge, Va. 22192
(540) 379-7359 (Maryanne)
(540) 446-6284 (Dwayne)

How can you find comps.......

Call us, walk into our office, contact us by e-mail. We won't charge you just to run community comparables.

Have a good day.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 1, 2011
Hire an appraiser and ask for additional comps, you can request more than the normal 3 or 4. You can also ask them to compare your property to similar properties currently for sale, again order additional information. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 30, 2011
Locally the only way one can do a complete comp is with access to the county tax data base, even then its not easy to compare different neighborhoods. The MLS is set up to compare homes much easier than the tax data base. Though not all homes sell on the MLS, most do. Its easiest to speak to a reputable Realtor and have them do it as they have access to both the MLS and the tax data base and have a great deal of experience with comparing properties.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 30, 2011
There are many websites that will give you comps, like Trulia, However, if you want a very good comp look for a reputable realtor in your area. They will either have a website that you can use or They will do a comparitive Analysis for you at no charge or obligation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 30, 2011
Yo do Comps the way a realtor does them you need a Realtor, our Comps are done with MLS values, Just ask a Realtor to do a comp for you, if you aren't planning on using a Realtor for the sale of your home, just tell them that and give them compensation for their time say $25 - $30 , That is only a suggested amount, but it helps with gas and time spent doing your Comp. Ask for a written copy, and if your house stays on the market for more than 4 or 5 months you may want to have a second Comp done.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 29, 2011
I would not recommend doing it alone. Would you conduct surgery on yourself or represent yourself in court? But, I respect your attempt. Just google it and you will find a TON of services to assist you for free. Good luck -- I dont even live near you so I am just trying to give you real advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 29, 2011
Why would you not contact an agent to give you comparable information? They provide that service for FREE!
Other places you could search are : County Tax Assessor, or Zillow

All the best,
Gary Geer
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 27, 2011
check with your town assessor and see if there's a website with their sales on it. This will give you all the sales, including auctions and foreclosures. If your serious about selling get a local realtors to do a FREE CMA for you. If you want I could interview agents in your area for you.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 25, 2011
Hi, you can check online but usually the local MLS is the most accurate, which you won't have access to without an agent. The problem with some home valuation sites such as Zillow is they are often innaccurate.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 25, 2011
Realtors cannot be hired to find comps. We make our money upon the closing of a listing or sale. Many Realtors, myself included, will offer to assist you in obtaining viable comps.. I have done this several times and in many cases end up working with that individual some where down the road. Home sale information is public record, check with your town office. Best wishes in your search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 22, 2011
To find comps without hiring a Realtor takes some effort on your part. You may lookup your local Tax Assessors Office and do your research there. You may have to enter addresses, names to find what information you are looking for. I am a Realtor who offers advice and information to people who are interested in their local market and want to know what is the current conditions. Feel free to look-up information on comps on your own or ask a Realtor for help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 22, 2011
If you want to try and not use a real estate agent, I would just search public MLS records or go onto trulia and do a search through them that is populated through the MLS as well. An agent could also do the search for you and just e-mail it over free of charge.

Just make sure the information you pull on your own is not older than 60-90 days...

Best of luck,
Derek Raynor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
Dear Cindy,

You can search websites like Trulie, Zillow etc to see what other homes are going for in your particular subdivision, or you can also use my website to create one on your own:
But having a Realtor prepare a CMA for you is the best way to learn about market situation and you can also ask the agent about current market trends.
There is no commitment to avail this kind of service. A knowledgeable Realtor also guide you through the Selling/ Buying procedure, which will make you understand how things work from start to finish.
It seems overwhelming to hire a Realtor, but we fight for your best interest and save you a whole lot more at the end.
For free comps, contact me or any fellow Realtors who have responded to your question.
And I'm sure that, you'll be amazed how sincere advise you get without any pressure of signing any document.

All the best!!


Best Regards,
Faiza Alvi - Realtor®
Prince William Realty, Inc.
703-389-7973 (Direct)
703-580-9995 (Fax)
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
If you use sites like Trulia, Zillow, and even you aren't going to get an accurate picture. I've found "recent sales" that have been used as old as five years. You should seriously consider hiriing an agent. It'll be a lot easier on yourself!
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
You can use sites like zillow or trulia and/or county records, but I would advise asking a realtor without hiring one. The reason for this is that things other than the MLS do not take into account condition (remodeled or trashed?), motivation (relocation or short sale?), and seller concessions (prepaids, closing costs?). These three factors are HUGE in determining value, so don't discount them.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
In NJ, sold prices are public record. Not sure about VA.

Keep in mind that you don't have to hire an agent in order to have a comparative market analysis done. So feel free to ask a few agents to perform this service for you (it is usually no cost). It will be interesting to see how they compare.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
right here on Trulia .... (not a plug for Trulia :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 20, 2011
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