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Find the Real Estate Comps in Your Area: Your Ultimate Guide

CEO Khai Intela
Are you curious about the value of your house? Or perhaps you're looking to gauge the fair market price as a buyer. Understanding how to find real estate comps, or comparables, in your area is...

Are you curious about the value of your house? Or perhaps you're looking to gauge the fair market price as a buyer. Understanding how to find real estate comps, or comparables, in your area is essential. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the process of finding and analyzing real estate comps in your local market.

What are Real Estate Comps?

Real estate comps, short for comparable sales, are recently sold properties that are similar to the subject property in terms of size, location, and key features. By comparing these similar properties, individuals can determine the current market value of a property. This process is vital for making informed decisions about buying, selling, or refinancing real estate.

Real estate comps are not only important for homeowners, buyers, and sellers, but they are also an invaluable tool for real estate professionals such as agents, professional appraisers, and investors. By analyzing the sales price, square footage, and other attributes of comparable properties, these experts can estimate a property's worth.

Understanding real estate comps and their significance provides a realistic idea of a property's market value. The comps analysis, or comparative market analysis, becomes particularly important when making significant financial decisions, such as buying a house or listing yours for sale. The correct price, whether it's the purchase price, selling price, or original asking price, heavily depends on accurately analyzing comps.

Why Do 'Comps' Matter?

Comps play a crucial role in establishing a price range that aligns with current market conditions. They can prevent homeowners from overvaluing their properties, which may lead to prolonged market time. In contrast, as a buyer, comps can protect you from overpaying for a property. Real estate comps are invaluable for both buyers and sellers in any real estate transaction.

Remember that each real estate market is unique. What applies to one zip code may not necessarily apply to another. Therefore, understanding your local market conditions is crucial. Consider working with a local real estate broker or agent who has expert insight into the area's current market trends. They can guide you in finding accurate comps.

Comps take into account more than just the selling price. They also consider the property type, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lot size, neighborhood features, the property's condition, and any special features or upgrades. For instance, a recently sold two-bedroom, one-bathroom house in your neighborhood can serve as a comp for your own two-bedroom, one-bathroom house. However, if your home has a renovated kitchen or is in a better school district, these factors could make your house more valuable.

Finding Comps

When it comes to finding real estate comps, several avenues are available. These include online real estate websites, county records, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and real estate agents.

Keep in mind that some of these resources may be more accessible to real estate professionals than the general public. Nonetheless, understanding how these comps are selected and used can give you an advantage in your real estate journey as a homeowner, buyer, or seller.

Comps are typically pulled from the past three to six months and within a one-mile radius of the subject property, depending on the area's density and the local housing market's activity. The selected properties should also be similar in size and condition to the subject property.

Key Factors that Help Identify Real Estate Comps

Understanding the key factors that help identify real estate comps can give you a rough idea of your property's value even before reaching out to professionals. This knowledge can also come in handy during house hunting or negotiations.

Location

One of the most important factors when identifying real estate comps is location. Comps should ideally be within the same neighborhood or a similar one to the subject property. Location can greatly affect a property's value.

Properties in the same zip code or on the same street can have different values due to their proximity to amenities, busy roads, or public transportation. Additionally, neighborhood features such as parks, shopping centers, and schools can impact property values. When considering real estate comps, it's crucial to consider the surrounding area and neighborhood features.

Property Type

Property type is another essential factor to consider when determining real estate comps. You should compare similar properties—for example, single-family homes to other single-family homes, condos to condos, etc. Comparing a condo to a single-family home wouldn't provide an accurate estimate, as maintenance costs, homeowner association fees, and amenities often vary.

The number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of the lot, and the property's square footage also play a crucial role in determining comps. If you're trying to find comps for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house, look for other two-bedroom houses that have recently sold in your area. Remember that the property's square footage also needs to be roughly similar to ensure accurate comparisons.

Age of the Property

The age of a property can significantly impact its value, making it another critical factor when finding real estate comps. Older homes may have more character but need more repairs and updates. In contrast, newer homes might have modern features and be more energy-efficient but could lack the charm of older houses.

When selecting comps, try to use properties of a similar age to the house in question. If the properties differ in age, adjustments should be made to account for this when determining the value. Real estate professionals often make these adjustments, highlighting the value of working with an expert who understands how these factors affect a property's market value.

Size

Size is another pivotal factor in selecting the right comps. Focus on similar properties in terms of square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and lot size. For instance, when assessing the value of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, compare it to other three-bedroom, two-bathroom houses for a more accurate estimate.

Property size extends beyond just the square footage of the house. The size of the lot the house is on can also greatly influence its value. Bigger lots generally command higher prices. Therefore, look at houses with similar-sized lots to get a more accurate comparison.

Condition of the Property

The condition of a property is another crucial element to consider when seeking out comps. Properties selected should be in a similar state in terms of repairs or updates needed. A home in excellent condition will likely sell for a higher price than a home of the same size and type but in poor condition.

Renovations, upgrades, and updates can add value to a property. A house with a newly renovated kitchen or a recently installed HVAC system might command a higher price than a house with outdated features or systems needing repair.

Remember that while some updates add value, others may not. It's important to understand which home improvements add value in your specific market and which ones may not be worth the investment.

Amenities

The amenities and special features of a property can significantly influence its value. Therefore, they should be considered when selecting comps. Amenities can include a garage, a pool, a view, or any other desirable feature a property has.

Some amenities can add significant value to a property. For instance, a house with a pool or a beautiful view might sell for more than a similar house without these features. Additionally, homes near key amenities such as parks, shops, schools, and public transportation often have a higher market value.

Why are Real Estate Comps Important?

Understanding real estate comps in your area is crucial for various reasons. They provide valuable insight into current market conditions, enabling homebuyers, sellers, and real estate investors to make data-driven decisions. Here are some reasons why real estate comps are an essential tool in the real estate market:

Assist with Pricing

Real estate comps serve as a benchmark in pricing properties. They assist buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals in determining a fair price for a property based on recent sales of comparable properties in the area. Setting the correct price from the start is vital in the selling process. Overpricing might lead to an inactive property listing, while underpricing could leave money on the table.

Determine Market Trends

Real estate comps can provide valuable insights into market trends. By analyzing comps, you can determine if the market is rising or in a slump. You can spot trends such as increasing or decreasing sale prices, the time properties stay on the market, and how the final selling price compares to the original asking price. These trends can help predict the market's future direction, enabling you to make informed decisions.

Guide Negotiation Strategies

Knowledge of real estate comps empowers buyers and sellers during price negotiations. If you're a buyer, you can use comps to justify your offer price, especially if it's lower than the asking price. For sellers, comps can be used to explain your listing price and to hold firm during negotiations.

Facilitate Informed Decisions

Real estate comps provide vital information that can influence buyers' and sellers' decisions. Comps can help buyers decide if a property is priced fairly and if it's a good time to buy. They can help sellers decide when to list their property and at what price. For investors, comps can help determine if a property is a good investment opportunity.

Provide Insight into the Competition

Understanding the real estate comps in your area can give you a competitive edge. For sellers, comps help understand how your property stacks up against others on the market. If comparable homes for sale have additional features, you might need to adjust your price or highlight your home's unique features.

Assist with Refinancing

Homeowners considering refinancing their mortgage can use comps to get an accurate appraisal value. Lenders often use comps when determining a home's value during refinancing. If the comps indicate that your home's value has increased, you can secure a better rate, which could lower your monthly mortgage payments.

How to Find Real Estate Comps

Finding accurate real estate comps involves utilizing various resources and platforms. Here are some ways to find comps:

Online Resources

The internet is a treasure trove of real estate information, including real estate comps. Many online real estate websites list recently sold properties in your area. These listings typically include details such as square footage, property type, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, special features, and the sale price, all of which can help you in your search for accurate comps.

Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a comprehensive database of properties for sale and recently sold properties in your area. This database can offer more detailed information than most online sites. Real estate agents can provide accurate comps based on these listings and offer expert insight into the current housing market conditions.

County Assessor's Office

The county assessor's office maintains public records of all properties sold in your area, including their sale prices, square footage, property type, and more. These public property records can be an excellent source of information for finding real estate comps. However, keep in mind that the county assessor's office data may need to be updated regularly.

Real Estate Appraisers

Real estate appraisers are professionals skilled in determining the value of a property. They have extensive knowledge and access to resources that can provide information about comparable sales in your area. While hiring an appraiser may involve some cost, their expertise can be valuable, especially for complex properties or in an active housing market where prices may fluctuate rapidly.

Local Real Estate Market Reports

Some real estate brokerage firms and local real estate associations publish regular reports on local real estate market trends. These reports often include average prices, the number of homes sold, and other key data points for various neighborhoods or property types.

Key Takeaways

Real estate comps are a fundamental part of the real estate industry, playing a critical role in determining the market value of properties, aiding in negotiations, and helping buyers and sellers make informed financial decisions.

When finding and analyzing comps, pay attention to the properties' location, size, condition, and amenities. Always compare apples to apples. Use multiple sources of information, from online real estate search engines to professional real estate agents and appraisers.

Lastly, remember that while you can gather a lot of information independently, real estate professionals have the experience and expertise to interpret the data accurately.

Ready to find real estate comps in your area? Start your search on eXp Realty. Connect with a professional who can help guide you through the process. Remember, with the right resources and people, navigating the real estate market doesn't have to be confusing or overwhelming.

FAQs: How to Find Comps in My Area

Navigating through real estate comps may lead to a few questions. Here are some commonly asked questions answered succinctly to provide you with a better understanding of the process:

How do you pull MLS comps?

To pull MLS comps, you typically need access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is often restricted to licensed real estate agents. An agent can pull the comps for you based on criteria such as location, square footage, property type, and recent sales.

How do you run comps in an area?

To run comps in an area, identify properties that have recently sold, are of similar size, and in the same location. Use online resources, a real estate agent, or county property records to gather this data, then compare prices to estimate a fair market value for your property.

How do I access my local MLS?

Generally, only licensed real estate professionals can directly access the local MLS. If you are a homebuyer or seller, you can ask your real estate agent to share the relevant data with you. Alternatively, many real estate websites offer the public a version of MLS data.

How far do appraisers look for comps?

Appraisers usually look for comps within a one-mile radius of the subject property in urban and suburban areas. In rural areas, they may go further. Time-wise, they usually consider properties sold within the last 3-6 months.

What is the best way to run comps on a property?

The best way to run comps on a property is to use a combination of online resources, real estate professionals, and county records. The process involves identifying similar properties in your area that have recently sold and comparing them to your property.

How many comps should you use?

The typical standard is to use at least three comps. However, it may be beneficial to use more if available, as this can give you a more accurate estimate of your property's market value.

How are property comps calculated?

Property comps are calculated by comparing the sale prices of similar properties recently sold in the same area. The comparison considers factors such as property size, location, condition, and amenities to estimate a property's market value.

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