Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

By Elisabeth Lentulo
Special to Village News 

Taking your home value beyond Zillow


Last updated 3/27/2020 at 3:40am

Neighbors, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances often approach me after they have checked their home’s property value on Zillow or other similar websites.

They wonder just how accurate those value estimates really are.

Sometimes they seem optimistically high and sometimes too low. Real estate professionals and appraisers follow a common procedure to arrive at your home’s market value.

First, a property’s public records must be accessed to ensure that there are no variations between what the client has revealed and what is recorded. The exact size of the home or lot remains the most common discrepancy.

Public records may also not list recent additions to the property, sometimes executed without proper permits. Once I am sure I have the correct information, I thoroughly examine the Multiple Listing Service and search for comparable sales. This is often referred to, in the real estate realm, as “running comps.”

In other words, I begin preparing a comparative market analysis. A complete and detailed market analysis proves essential in providing the utmost professional service when listing and selling homes.

As your Realtor, I will compare your property to nearby properties that have recently sold, possess similar features and characteristics, and that are within a radius of one-half to 1 mile of your property. (The radius may be larger in rural areas with larger lots.)

The most recent sales going back about three months are the most important market indicators. Basic features include the number of bedrooms, size and ages of the properties. Age does matter! One cannot compare a decades-old home to the new tract homes going up in the neighborhood.

The “comp” value of your home only acts as the starting point! After I determine a price for your home based on the average cost per square foot on the market analysis, I must examine your home. This is where Zillow and other home valuation websites err.

Zillow will not access your home, nor will they adjust its value based on your own unique amenities and notable upgrades. This crucial step must not be overlooked or underestimated.

For example, your property may possess a breathtaking view, a remodeled state-of-the-art kitchen, or maybe a brand-new pool. I will make allowances and adjustments for all improvements that distinguish your property from the others.

On the other hand, it must be understood that the value of your home may be lower than the area comps due to deferred maintenance, structural defects or other determining issues.

Keep in mind, market data is not imaginary. It does not lie; however, sometimes it can change quickly. Reasons for this may include factors such as unforeseen economic circumstances, local or national life-changing events, and natural disasters.

I will always offer my honest opinion. This is when my job may be difficult. I must tell you what you need to hear, and not always what you may want to hear. Your home’s condition will determine the final listing price. Contact me for a free market analysis of your home.

Elisabeth Hartig Lentulo, broker associate, can be reached at (760) 532-1057, [email protected] or CalBRE #01904564


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