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Should I appraise my home before putting it on the market?

It isn't necessary, because rarely does an appraisal have anything to do with the price the seller will actually get for their property. Here's why . . . First, to determine the asking price, a seller's agent will look at the "comps", the price for which "comparable" homes in the area have recently been sold. Based upon these prices, the seller should adjust what they are asking. For example, if similar properties in the area are selling for $210,000, then trying to get $250,000 usually does not make sense. Thus, before putting the house on the market, a seller should review the "comps", which can be obtained from a local real estate professional. The appraisal process used by a licensed appraiser is more theoretical than a "comp," and doesn't predict what a buyer will be willing to pay. Why would anyone ever get an appraisal then? Although rarely needed by buyers or sellers, appraisals are normally required by lenders who are considering making a loan. However, sellers of expensive, custom homes may get appraisals, because there may not be any homes in the area that compare. Buyers of these one-of-a-kind homes will also have more confidence in an asking price that is supported by an appraisal. Before determining an asking price, sellers should give their agent a list of major improvements done to the home, such as a new roof or upgraded heating system. This will help the agent consider all the factors when recommending a price. It will also put him or her in a better position to sell the house, and all of its features, for the best possible price.

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