How Important are COMPS (Comparable Sales) when homebuyers in Washington, DC, Maryland or Virginia are ready to make an offer on that dream home? Pretty darn important! Working closely with your exclusive buyer's agent is key in this crucial step of the home buying process. Don't be tripped up by getting caught with your knickers around your ankles.
Home Real Estate Valuation Data is available for free from many website outlets. For example, Zillow.com offers homebuyers estimated home values on their website portal. Unfortunately, recent studies have been reported that these estimated real estate values on portals are often inaccurate. Kenneth R. Harney with the LA Times wrote that, "Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff answered that they're "a good starting point" but that nationwide Zestimates have a "median error rate" of about 8%. Whoa. That sounds high. On a $500,000 house, that would be a $40,000 disparity — a lot of money on the table — and could create problems." At Buyer's Edge, our exclusive buyer's agents agree.
Of course, Trulia.com and Zillow.com also provide real estate buyers and sellers Real Estate Listing Sold Data. How accurate is this information?When it comes to posting new real estate listings, Redfin found that local brokerage sites are considerably more complete, more accurate, and timelier. Their research found that "Each of the local real estate brokerage websites analyzed contained 100% of the homes listed for sale in the MLS. Portal sites contained just 79% to 81% of these listings – a fifth of the homes for sale did not appear on portal sites." Now if these findings are for active, new real estate listings that everyone is eager to share. Imagine how accurate and timely "old, boring" Sold Data is on these sites? In fact, the truth is that very few Realtors offer Sold Real Estate Data directly from the MLS (Multiple List Service) on their websites. At the Buyer's Edge, we do and it's free to anyone and every one who visits our website.
We also encourage our homebuyers to use these real estate websites as part of their education into the current VA, DC, MD real estate market. They're a great place to start, finish or anything in between. Just remember to use all your viable, trustworthy options when you find your dream home.
Here are the top 6 things to look for in your Comps when you are ready to make an offer. Your buyer's agent will provide you with the Comps and help you make a truly informed decision about the value of the property before you jump in.
#1 Use Comps that are within the past 6 months. The real estate appraiser will be using this information when you go to apply for a mortgage. If it's absolutely necessary, it's ok to look at Sold Real Estate Listing Data that is within a year old.
#2 The Comps should be comprised of homes that are in the same subdivision or in the immediately surrounding areas.
#3 Comps should compare similar house styles. A brick colonial with a brick colonial. A 1960s split level with another 1960s split level.
#4 From the Comps, analyze the square footage above grade.
#5 With the Comps, identify and separate those homes with finished basements.
#6 Look carefully at the photographs for each Comp. Does the home or condo have new windows, kitchens, bathrooms, carpets and/or floors? How are they the same and how are they different?
Now you know a little of what you're looking for in a good Comp, here's a fun example of how to find accurate, timely real estate listing Sold Data from the Buyer's Edge website.
Let's say you've been watching this beauty of a real estate listing on Arrowood Drive in Bethesda, MD for months. Why hasn't it sold? With this current real estate listing agent, the home has been on the market for 126 days and it was reduced from $3,995,000 to $3,800,000 on April 11, 2016. You're madly in love this home and you're ready to make a move.
Go to BuyersAgent.com. The homepage will look like this.
Type in Arrowood and hit "SEARCH SOLD LISTINGS."
Instantly, all the recently Sold homes on Arrowood Drive in Bethesda, MD in the past year will appear!
How does the first Sold home on Arrowood Road compare to the home you want to make an offer?
This home sold for $3,800,000 on 2-4-2016. Originally it was priced with this listing agent at $4,995,000 on 2-25-2015.
Now, look at the second home that sold on Arrowood Road.
How does this home compare? Square footage? Number of Bathrooms, Bedrooms and Lot Size? Can you hear the beltway noise?
You get the idea. It's fun, fast and easy to get Comps in VA, DC, MD, so you can work with your buyer's agent to come up with an offer. Now, let's talk about the contract negotiation strategy...
SEARCH for Current, Accurate Real Estate Listings DC, VA, MD NOW.