You have several options to find a house value by address, depending on the value you want. Most properties have two values – the fair market value and assessed value. Understanding the difference between the two will help you decide which is best for your situation.
Here’s how to find a house value by address, and how to use the information in your real estate decisions.
What Does Home Value Mean?
In generic terms, a home value is the value buyers would pay to buy a home today. Even if you aren’t selling, there are reasons to know your home’s value, such as how much equity you have in it, or what you could sell it for should you decide to sell. This type of knowledge can always come in handy.
Investors use home value to decide if a home is a good investment and if there’s room in the home’s value for renovations that would increase the home’s value, which is great for fix-and-flip investors.
Homes have two values – fair market and assessed values.
- Fair market value – The FMV is the value both buyers and sellers would agree on if you sold the home. It uses the values of recently sold homes in the area and is what lenders use when determining if you qualify for financing.
- Assessed value – The assessed value is what tax assessors use when determining the tax liability for the home. It’s also the basis of the fair market value, but FMV considers other factors such as curb appeal, upgraded features, market demand.
Both values help you when you’re buying or selling a home as they both tell you what to expect out of a home both from a sales perspective and tax viewpoint.
Finding The Fair Market Value
Today it’s easier than ever to find a home’s fair market value. Using sites like Zillow or Redfin, you type in the home’s address and get an estimated value for the home. Take the information carefully though – it probably won’t be an exact match for the FMV, but they do use the information provided from comparable sales and publicly available information.
If you plan to buy a home soon, it’s best to use a real estate agent to determine the home’s value. Using Zillow or Redfin may help you get a ballpark figure but when you’re ready to buy, you shouldn’t bid a price higher than the home’s value.
You may even check with your bank or lender. Many financial institutions have a desktop app that pulls up a home’s value with a little more accuracy than Zillow or Redfin use.
Finding The Assessed Value
The assessed value is public information and can usually be found online. Visit the county assessor’s website and look for ‘property valuation.’ You enter the address and will receive the property’s assessed value.
If the county doesn’t have online capabilities, call the assessor’s office and provide the address. They’ll be able to provide you with the home’s assessed value.
Remember, the assessed value will be lower than the fair market value and shouldn’t be used to determine the price you bid on a home.
Which Is Better – Fair Market Value Or Assessed Value?
The reason you need a home’s value determines which is better – fair market or assessed value. If you’re ready to buy a home, you need its FMV. The assessed value only shows a property’s tax liability. If you know the assessed value and the tax rate, you can figure out how much a home’s property taxes are at this time.
If you’re just looking for estimates of a home’s value or to see what certain renovations would do to its assessed value, then the assessed value is fine. But, any real estate transaction should use the Fair Market Value for the best results.
What Factors Contribute To A Property’s Fair Market Value?
Many factors determine a property’s fair market value including:
- House size
- Prices of recently sold homes
- The home’s condition
- Any upgrades
- Any issues with the home
The fair market value is a bit subjective but also objective. Appraisers use the price of recently sold homes in the area to determine the prices buyers are willing to pay. They’ll adjust the value of a home according to its condition, features, upgrades, and issues, but the baseline is what other ‘similar homes’ sold for recently – usually within the last 6 months and within 1 mile of the subject property.
Which Value Should Buyers Use?
Buyers should use the property’s fair market value if they’re looking at a sales price or deciding how much to bid on a home. If you’re trying to determine a property’s tax liability, the assessed value may help. A historic look back at the assessed value can tell you how quickly the home appreciates, which will help you determine the home’s potential future increase in real estate taxes.
It’s easier than ever to find a home’s value by address. If the information is accurate or not is another question.
Zillow, Redfin, and other similar sites are a great way to get a ballpark figure for a home’s value, but always leave the concrete numbers up to the professionals, especially appraisers. If you’re unsure about a home’s value and are thinking about buying it, contact an appraiser to see the home’s true value.
The same applies if you want to do a fix-and-flip. Before you buy it, make sure the home’s after-repair-value will be high enough. You don’t want to invest more in a property than it’s worth, that would leave you paddling upstream without a paddle for many years.
Pay attention to a home’s value, do your preliminary research, and always rely on professionals to give you the most up-to-date information.