The Difference Between a Comparative Market Analysis and an Appraisal

It can be difficult for sellers to distinguish between two methods of finding the value of their home: a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and a home appraisal. Though they share many similarities, there are key differences in how the two approaches ultimately arrive at a listing price for your home.

The Difference Between a Comparative Market Analysis and an Appraisal

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

A CMA is conducted by an agent using their knowledge of the local market in conjunction with information available to them on the multiple listing service (MLS), which contains data on sold homes and market trends. A CMA helps to price the home more accurately, keeping the property competitive in the current market. For those who are thinking of selling their home For Sale By Owner (FSBO), it’s worth noting that you will not be able to conduct a CMA on your own, since, among other things, access to the MLS is exclusive to real estate agents.

Your agent’s analysis accounts for the various factors that influence home prices to arrive at an accurate estimate of your home’s value. A CMA compares your home to others in your area that have either recently sold, are currently on the market, or had previously listed but have since expired, typically using data from the past three-to-six months. Comparable homes, or “comps,” are homes whose characteristics are similar to your own, such as the housing type, condition, and the square footage and property size. A thorough CMA will provide information on what homes in your area are selling for, how long they were on the market, and the difference between their listing and sold price, and will list a low, median, and high selling price for your home.

Appraisal

The main difference between an appraisal and a CMA is the personnel involved. Whereas a CMA is conducted by a real estate agent, an appraisal is carried out by a licensed appraiser on behalf of the bank. Once a buyer applies for a loan to purchase your home, the bank will order an appraisal of the property. Though appraisers use methods of comparison similar to an agent’s CMA, unlike a real estate agent, bank appraisers have no vested interest in the sale of the home. The goal of an appraiser’s visit is to determine your home’s fair market value to ensure that the bank isn’t lending more money to the buyer than needed.

For more resources on the selling process and to use our free home value calculator, visit the selling page on our website here:

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5 Green Upgrades that Increase Your Home Value

Selling a home begins with understanding how much it’s worth. After an initial assessment, you may want to make some updates to increase the value of your property. There are several ways to do that, including boosting your curb appeal or making renovations with significant ROI potential. As you research potential projects, keep in mind that making your home more sustainable can boost its value to potential buyers. Talk with your agent to identify which of these five upgrades makes sense for your home before it hits the market.

Five Green Upgrades that Increase Your Home Value

1. Energy-Efficient Appliances

It’s no secret that appliances use a significant amount of energy, which means there is plenty of opportunity to cut back on their output. Installing energy-efficient appliances can do wonders for creating a more eco-friendly home, while appealing to buyers who value sustainability. When shopping around, look for appliances with high-efficiency or Energy Star certifications. They may cost more to purchase, but their ability to generate long-term savings is a concrete selling point. 

2. Tankless Water Heater

As the shift toward eco-friendly appliances has picked up steamed, so too has the preference for tankless water heaters. Whereas standard storage tank water heaters keep a reservoir of hot water at the ready, tankless water heaters heat your home’s water supply on-demand. It’s similar to a new car that shuts off its engine when sitting idle, as opposed to an older car whose engine is running all the time. Tankless water heaters don’t come without their share of costs. An upfront investment will be required for purchase and installation, but it will deliver immediate savings on energy bills.

3. Solar Panels

There are many benefits to going solar, but for sellers, the positive effect solar energy has on home values is chief among them. A solar-capable home is a surefire way to drum up buyer interest. By taking care of the upfront installation costs, you allow the buyer to focus on the benefits of solar energy, i.e. the long-term energy savings, the reduced utility bills, and the reduction in the property’s carbon footprint. Work closely with your real estate agent to understand how solar energy has affected home prices in your area to get an idea of the project’s ROI potential.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

4. Water Filtration

Installing a home water filtration system is one of the best ways to cut down on your home’s waste while increasing its value. These filtration systems appeal to buyers for a variety of reasons. Of course, there are an array of health benefits to having filtered water running through the entire house. Buyers can be assured that the water is safe to drink, they will be bathing and showering in clean water, and there is a reduced risk of plumbing issues due to contaminated water. Beyond the personal health benefits, it can also cut down on bottled water costs and the amount of landfill waste produced within the home.

5. Energy-Efficient Windows

Alternatives to traditional windows have become more popular in recent years. Energy-efficient windows are better insulated, which helps to regulate temperatures inside the home and protects against harmful ultraviolet rays. Their ability to help regulate your home’s heating and cooling leads to energy savings and reduced carbon emissions. Energy-saving windows can be highly valuable to potential buyers, especially if you live in a climate with extreme temperatures.

For more tips on the selling process, visit the selling section of our blog.

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Where to Stay While You Sell Your Home

The time between selling a home and moving into a new one can be a challenging period for homeowners that leaves them with a basic question: Where should I live? In the interim, there are various housing options to choose from but picking the right one depends on your personal situation and the amount of time it will take until you move into your new home.

Once you know it’s time to sell your home, there are various factors that will have an influence on what housing is available to you. Your budget will help determine your options. For example, if you are already in contract with your new home, you might be looking to save some money in preparation for move-in costs. Seasonality plays a role as well. Talk to your agent about real estate trends in your local market to understand which housing options tend to be available at certain times of year.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Where to Stay While You Sell Your Home

 

In Your Home

There is the option to stay in your home while you sell it. If your home is still on the market, understand that a fully staged home will be fundamentally different from the one you’re used to. Once you’ve sold your home, there are additional options for staying as well. By working closely with your agent, you can negotiate a longer closing period or a rent-back agreement with the new owners. A rent-back agreement is an agreement between the two parties in which the seller rents their old home from the buyer for an agreed-upon period of time before the new buyers move in, allowing for a smooth transition to take place. Depending on the buyer’s urgency to move in and the competitiveness of the market, a rent-back agreement may not be feasible, but in the right situation it presents a mutually beneficial solution.

 

Apartment or Condo

Renting an apartment or condo while you wait to get into your new home can help make the transition easier. To avoid unpacking all your belongings only to have to pack them back up when it’s time to move again, try to find furnished listings in your area, or search for units that offer furnishing at an added cost. Although paying rent is an added expense, this set-up can help you stay organized throughout the moving process.

 

Friends & Family

If you have friends or family nearby that have space to accommodate you, they may be open to the idea of taking you in until you’re able to move into your new home. In this scenario, you’ll likely need to store your household items elsewhere, which will come with an added cost. Of all the options, this is typically the least expensive.

 

Short-Term Rentals

The short-term rental market offers a flexible approach to finding somewhere to stay. Filtering your results by location will allow you to select a place that won’t disrupt your daily routine. If you won’t be moving into your new home for an extended period of time, you can choose a rental with amenities accommodate your longer-term needs. Keep in mind, the cost of short-term rentals can easily add up, and in some cases may be more expensive than renting an apartment or condo.

 

Hotel

Another popular option for riding out the interim period between houses is staying at an extended-stay hotel. These hotels usually offer amenities that accommodate long-term living like a kitchen, living space, laundry services, a refrigerator, internet, and more.

For more information on selling your home, visit the Selling Page on our blog. To get an idea of what your home is worth, try our free home value calculator at the link below:

 

What’s my home worth?

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Selling a Home with Pets

For pet owners, it’s hard to imagine their home without a furry friend. However, when it comes time to sell, showcasing the qualities of a home should take precedence over the pets that live in it. This creates additional steps in the process of preparing your home for sale, but it makes all the difference in the minds of buyers.

 

Staging Your Home

A well-staged home makes it appealing to the widest variety of buyers and has significant ROI potential when it hits the market. However, having a pet can complicate the staging process. Buyers may lose interest in the home if they see traces of pets, so it’s a good idea to hide any and all signs of their presence.

It’s especially important to hide evidence of your pet in marketing photos. Prepare for your home’s listing photos by cleaning and vacuuming, making sure all pet stains are gone and any pet-related damage is repaired. Stow any pet carriers, cages, toys, food bowls, and other supplies that may hinder the photographer’s ability to capture the essence of a room.

 

Showing Your Home

Before inviting potential buyers inside, it’s best to give your home a deep clean to improve your home’s air quality, and to rid your carpets, flooring, and surfaces of pet odors and any dirt they may have tracked in over time. If you’re using your own furniture, vacuum and clean everything to extract as much fur and pet dander as possible. Talk to your agent to see if it’s a better idea to stage your home with rented furniture. If your pets have caused any damage in the home, make repairs or replacements as needed. After tending to your home’s interior, don’t forget to clean up after your pets in your yard as well. Fill in any holes in the lawn, freshen up your flower beds, and tidy up any areas of the landscaping where your pets may have dug.

After you’ve prepared your home for showings, there’s the question of what to do with your pets once buyers actually start taking tours. Ask a family member, friend, pet sitter, or neighbor to watch your pets while the showings take place. If you’re not able to find someone to watch them, form a strategy to temporarily relocate your pets during showings. If they must stay in the home, garage, or backyard during tours, it’s best to give buyers advanced notice that there are pets on the property. Talk to your agent about posting signage communicating their presence so that there are no surprises as guests make their way through the house.

Taking all these precautions will help to present your home in the best light without detracting certain buyers, for whom the signs of a pet may cause them to lose interest. On the other hand, if any buyers inquire about how the home can accommodate their pet, you and your agent will be more than ready to answer any questions they may have.

 

Selling Your Home

For more information on the process of selling your home, visit the Selling Page on our blog. To get an idea of what your home is worth, try our free home value calculator below:

What’s My Home Worth?

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The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection

Pre-listing inspections can help sellers better understand the condition of their home before putting it on the market. They can also strengthen a home’s appeal to potential buyers and help to streamline the offer process, which is especially important in competitive markets. However, pre-listing inspections can also open sellers up to added liability. Talk to your Windermere agent to understand if conducting a pre-listing inspection is right for your home.

 

What is a Home Inspection?

Conducted by a licensed home inspector, a home inspection is a detailed review of the condition of a home and property. Inspectors examine everything from a home’s electrical work and sewage to its heating and cooling systems, searching for any evidence of damage or structural issues that may affect its value. By having your home inspected before you sell, you’ll have the chance to discover whether it needs any repairs or upgrades.

 

Pre-Listing Inspections

Pre-listing inspections not only help identify repairs, but they can also make the selling process more efficient. A pre-listing inspection discloses a home’s condition to buyers up front and gives them confidence that the seller is being transparent about any possible issues. This can save significant time for both buyers and sellers, especially in competitive markets where there are multiple offers on the table.

Something for sellers to keep in mind is that if a home in a competitive market does not provide a pre-inspection report, buyers may be hesitant to make an offer knowing the time it takes to perform an inspection and the fact that they are likely competing against several other buyers who are willing to waive this step.

 

The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection

Home inspections give a good baseline of your home’s condition. The information gathered during this process is exactly the kind of in-depth knowledge that buyers want to know when considering placing an offer on a home.

Since buyers will know right away what repairs are needed, they can factor them into their initial offer, as opposed to discovering them during the inspection contingency and getting entangled in negotiations. Being forthcoming about your home also reduces the chances of an offer falling through and the buyer walking away.

An added benefit of a pre-listing inspection is that it helps your real estate agent more accurately price the home and enables them to market it with the knowledge that everything is being presented in the most transparent way possible.

 

If you have any questions about home inspections or any of the steps in the selling process, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent here: Connect with an agent

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