Friday, May 20, 2022 / by Laura Larson
What are real estate comps?
When you start researching for real estate comps in your area, it helps to understand what comps are and what information they can tell you. Real estate comps, also referred to as “closed comparable sales,” are completed home sale transactions that have taken place within a specific area and where the homes share similar characteristics with the home you’re selling or considering for purchase.
5 Ways to Find Real Estate Comps in Your Area
When searching for local comps, the first rule of thumb is to find three or more similar properties to ensure that any comparable property isn’t an outlier in price. For example, one home comp in your area may be lower than what you should list your home for sale because it was in poor condition and needed work, or another property may have a high comp because it was the best house on the block. Having at least three property comparables should give you an average price point to start with. Here are five easy ways to get those real estate comps.
1. Use a reputable real estate agent to find local comps
Comps are an essential part of listing your home and the home appraisal process. One way to find comps in your area is to work with an established real estate agent for your research.
Another valuable tool when searching for real estate comps is a home valuation tool to help you understand what your home is worth and provide a good starting point to determine the fair market value. Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty Partners uses complete MLS data on recently sold homes in your area.
Simply type in your address on our website, and you will receive an estimate for your home based on recent home sales in your area. It’ll even show you comps in your area just below the estimate.
One sure-fire way to get accurate real estate comps is to work with a local real estate agent. Local real estate agents are experts in their market and can give you sound advice on how to price your property, as well as help you understand data in MLS comps. Only licensed agents have access to the MLS, which is the most up-to-date and accurate tool available.
Real estate agents pull comps from the MLS in their daily work to provide clients with a reliable price range when listing a home for sale. For example, agents know if properties have likely increased in value, if the fair market value is accurate, or if a property’s price is out of line with other homes in the area.
4. Research public property records
Another valuable resource for homebuyers and sellers is your county’s public property records. Unfortunately, public property records can be a hit or miss when it comes to comps, as you’ll only be able to find the last recorded sales price, which may be from ten years ago. So if the area market has few or no recent transactions, you could be stuck with property comps that don’t reflect today’s market conditions. Public property records can be a good place to start, but you’ll need additional research to find accurate numbers.
5. Request a comparative market analysis (CMA)
Real estate agents and brokers use CMAs to give sellers all the details they need before listing a house for sale. Finding the listing price sweet spot is essential to a successful sale. The best listing price is the one that’s not too low where you end up leaving money on the table or not too high where the home doesn’t sell at all. And for buyers, a CMA can help verify if a home is a good deal and pinpoint a competitive offer that will be taken seriously—without going overboard.
A CMA also provides the most accurate data and details about the home and surrounding area. However, an agent’s CMA is more than just the numbers. The agent provides expert advice to help you assess the home, the current market, prices, and other factors that could affect your list price.
How do I use comps to price my home?
Real estate comps help you price your home accurately by giving you a range for its “fair market value” based on recent market activity. Then your real estate agent can add or subtract from the fair market price based on the home’s condition, special features, and other characteristics that buyers will likely consider.
Real estate agents and brokers use real estate comps every day to do their jobs. An agent or broker will use comps to suggest a listing price for a home that’s about to go to market and represents a fair market price. Agents also have access to any pending sales, which would affect real estate comps and CMA reports. The sales volume in your area will also drive the fair market price on any home being listed for sale. For example, if your housing market is currently a seller’s market and homes are selling quickly, buyers may be making higher offers than they would be in a market that’s not so competitive.
Home sellers use comps to understand what similar homes in the area are selling for, allowing them to set a list price they feel confident in. Comps also help home sellers clarify their home’s selling points which will be highlighted in the home’s description when it’s listed for sale.
Homebuyers use accurate real estate comps for making an offer. By researching similar properties in the area, buyers can verify that the listing price is fair, or if the price is too high or low. Comps are also helpful in creating a strategy for negotiating a home sale.
Home appraisers perform home appraisals as one of the most important steps to completing the sale of a home. The appraiser relies on real estate comps and several other factors in determining an accurate property value that can make or break a sale. The cost of the home appraisal will be covered by the homebuyer.
Finding and analyzing comps can be tricky. However, Laura Larson has the resources and expertise to walk you through the process. She and her team can help you nail down a good price to list your home.