If you are in the market to sell your home but are clueless about it's worth, comps -- or comparables -- should prove helpful. Comps are considered "the single-best tool in determining a home's value," according to Zillow, a web-based home and real estate marketplace. They provide data on recently sold homes in a particular area, giving sellers a good idea of how much their homes are worth. Finding comps in your area can be done in a few ways.
Contact a licensed real estate agent for information regarding comps in your neighborhood. Licensed agents have direct access to all home sales in a given area and could give you a quick and accurate idea of what your home is worth based on their research. Real estate agents provide clients and non-clients alike with a comparative market analysis report using the comps they have found.
Log on to a real estate website to find comps in your neighborhood without the help of a real estate agent. Websites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and Redfin provide accurate, up-to-date home comparables for most neighborhoods. Property transactions are matters of public record, so the comps on these websites are based on listed sales legally filed with county clerks. When browsing, enter your home address on the real estate website of your choice and review the sales of area homes -- using such comparison points as the home's age, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, lot size and location -- to get an idea of what your house is worth.
Check classified ads in print publications and online for houses that are currently on the market in your neighborhood. Visit open houses near you to gauge firsthand how comparable the home is to your property. If no open houses are being offered, schedule a viewing by the listing agent to check out the inside and assess its comparability. Note such elements as number of bedrooms, bathrooms and total square footage, but also assess other factors that might affect listing price, such as landscaping, noise, and proximity to public transportation and local businesses.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images