It’s all about Location, Location, Location they say in real estate, but to a buyer or a seller it may be Price, Price, Price. You may be buying your first starter home or selling the family home to move into retirement in Florida either way you’ll need to know “How much is it actually worth?” In real estate lingo “Comps” is a second word that comes with little ambiguity, but to the laymen that same word could leave you wondering. Comparables are reports on similar houses in the area and how much they went for when they were recently sold. These reports give insight into the value of the home you wish to sell or buy and allow you to determine if it is really a dream home or it is actually a home you can afford.
Sites like Zillow.com attempt to determine a comparable price for a home through open records and information about a home provided over the years in these open records. Ask any realtor and they’ll tell you they hate Zillow. Not because it takes their clients, the site doesn’t facilitate home sales but due to the inaccuracies made when determining a home’s value without firsthand knowledge of the area or the home.
Real estate agents usually determine these with local knowledge and understanding of the area. These are performed though after a home buyer or seller has contacted a real estate agent. Sometimes you’d just like to know without beginning a search with someone who’s commission based. The perceived pressure that comes with a real estate agent may make Zillow more attractive than an accurate price or at least get you by until you absolutely have to contact an agent.
Other sites are now offering a blended opportunity that borrows the best of both previous options and provide accurate real estate comps but free of the pressure of working with an agent. RealEstateCompsToday.com is one of these services that offers national coverage but contracts with local agents to provide investors, sellers and buyers with the best possible comparable home price reports.
Too often in life we see black and white or right and wrong and forget that life choices don’t have to be bilateral. More often a third method is available that includes the best of both original options and today it seems there is a third option in real estate comps. Consider this next time you search for comps in my area.