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    Home Valuation
    FAQs about home values and valuations

    (from REALTOR.com®)
    What is the "What’s Your Home Worth?" and "How To Make Your Home Worth More!" tools?
    As a Realtor®, we have access to an on-line service developed to help prospective buyers and sellers become better informed about the local market conditions. Ascent Real Estate Boise can provide a no-cost customized Home Value Report, help you with a strategy to increase the value of your home, and provide overall professional real estate market assistance.

    Home Appraisal vs. Assessment: What is the Difference?
    An appraisal is something you pay for. An assessment is something the government does, whether you want them or not. An appraisal typically is ordered by a home buyer’s mortgage company to confirm that the value of a home matches the value on the mortgage application. A bank doesn’t want to give you a home loan that far exceeds the actual value of a house. Homeowners will sometimes pay for an appraisal if they’ve made improvements to their home. This helps document the new, increased value and makes it easier to qualify for a home equity loan.
    Does a Home Appraisal Affect Property Taxes?
    It doesn’t always, but it certainly can. An appraisal purchased by a property owner belongs to a property owner, so the government wouldn’t even know of its existence. However, if you are using an appraisal during a home purchase (helping to determine the final sales price), then the government likely will find out -since many local governments look at property sales records when doing their assessments. If you think the government has assessed your property too high, you can pay for an appraisal that might show a lower value – and therefore end up paying lower taxes. However, you may end up paying for an appraisal that meshes with the government’s assessment.

    \Does a Property Assessment Affect Property Taxes?
    Absolutely. Your property taxes are based on an equation of the mileage rate (or levy) multiplied by the government’s property assessment. (The mileage rate/levy is the amount of money you pay per $1,000 of value.) Properties may be assessed by only one governmental agency, but that information is used by many more: the city, the county, the drainage district, the sewage district, the library district, the airport, and any number of others. In fact, the school district usually takes up a large chunk of your property taxes. Each of these entities has its own formula for using your property’s assessment to impose taxes on you.
    What are Home Comps?
    Comps, or "comparables," are simply a collection of recent sales prices of similar homes in your area. If you are considering selling your home, Ascent Boise Real Estate will show you what comps – houses of the same approximate size in your neighborhood – have been selling for. That will help you both determine the best sales price for your house. If you are buying, comps are also worth looking at to help you compare the value/condition of the homes you are considering to what other buyers have thought appropriate prices were for similar homes in the neighborhood.
    How Is a Property Value Determined?
    A property's value is the total of the land's value plus any improvements made to the land. Those improvements can be anything from your house – the most obvious – to sheds, fancy driveways, tennis courts, pools, even landscaping. As for the land, its size, location and ability to be developed are determining factors. Keep in mind, too, future zoning plans. A home may have a higher value when it’s first built and has wonderful green-space views. But if zoning allows for that green-space to turn into a shopping mall 10 years down the road, you can expect the home’s value to decrease when the view changes to delivery trucks and parking lots.
    All the components that make up a property’s value are based on comparable properties in the neighborhood. For instance, if you live in a strictly middle class neighborhood and add a tennis court – the only one in your whole neighborhood – an assessor (or current buyers) may not really see it as a valuable addition – at least not valuable enough to pay a premium for the home – since most people moving into a strictly middle-class neighborhood would neither expect nor want a tennis court in their yard.
    How Is a Home's Market Value Determined?
    What are you willing to pay? That’s often the market value. But in reality, the market value is what your house is worth on the open market - what people are paying for homes similar to yours. If somebody grossly overpays for a property, that doesn’t mean that sales price is its real market value – not if similar homes in the neighborhood are not selling at the same price. Likewise, you may get a real steal on a house, but an assessor may not see it your way – he’ll say that other people are paying $20,000 more, for instance, for the same type of house in your neighborhood – so your taxes are going to be based on the real market value, not what you paid.

    To decide what to pay for a home (or what to sell yours for) it helps to look at comps – the recent selling prices of nearby homes that are of a similar size, age and condition. Be sure to look for homes very near to yours, not similar homes in different neighborhoods. Everything in the area – from proximity to shopping, quality of schools, crime rate and general neighborhood upkeep – figure into the market value of any given home.

    What is an Improvement?
    An improvement is a positive alteration to a home or its land. It can be an upgraded kitchen, a new bathroom, a renovated basement or other obvious structural changes. A new roof or fresh interior or exterior paint can be an improvement, as can updated electrical and plumbing systems. I also includes what stays with a house when you are buying or selling it. Updating all of these can be viewed as improvements from a buyer’s perspective.

    How Do I Increase My Home Value?
    The list of ways to increase a home’s value often is endless and depends a great deal on how much you want to spend. A house that’s more than 50 or 70 years old likely will benefit from upgraded electrical and plumbing systems, a new roof (if the existing roof is deteriorating), etc. While these add value, they’re not alterations that are easily seen. To make more obvious changes that will increase your home’s value, think in terms of expanding rooms, adding rooms, updating bathrooms and kitchens.
    Another way to increase a home’s value is to advocate for the neighborhood. Working with your neighbors to implement a Neighborhood Watch program can help nip crime in the bud, good sidewalks, streetscapes and maintenance will go a long way to making your block more appealing. Keeping an eye on the city’s zoning plans can help ensure that your street isn’t expanded to four lanes or that an adjacent undeveloped block isn’t going to become the ugly, unappealing back of a strip mall.

    What Can Negatively Affect House Values in My Area?
    Plenty of things can lower home values in any given neighborhood: Condition of the houses, streets, yards, crime and maintenance are all factors. Do your neighbors maintain their homes well? Are streets plowed frequently enough in the winter? Are there sidewalks or bike paths? Are the schools overcrowded, old or in need of repair or expansion or updating? Are there discipline problems? And lastly, zoning - what are the plans for the area by the city?
    How Can I Check Home Values in My Area?
    Local home values and the sales prices of recently sold homes in your area are very important to research when determining the value of your home. One of the best ways to check home values is through a home valuation tool available on REALTOR.com® and discuss what you see with us. You can also use the "What’s Your Home Worth" link below to type in a property address and zip code to get started.

    Where does the free recent home sales data come from?
    Home sales data is obtained from public records sources provided to us by Onboard, LLC. The recent sales data that is displayed is based upon actual sales of homes in the last 18 months for all full-disclosure states. We do not use any unique or proprietary algorithms to estimate values.

    What are non-disclosure states?
    Idaho is a non-disclosure state and doesn't disclose the actual value of property sales to the public. Instead, it is standard industry practice for Realtors to estimate sale prices based on one of two methods: 1) transfer tax paid in a home sales transaction (most reliable estimate) and 2) first mortgage amount (yields a wider margin of error) in states without a transfer tax or where than information is unavailable. That means the consumer will still see "free comps" of estimated sale prices instead of public record actual sales data.

    To visit the Realtor.com® Home Valuation tool - click here
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