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Here Are 6 Free Hacks To Help Estimate What Your Home Is Truly Worth

Here Are 6 Free Hacks To Help Estimate What Your Home Is Truly Worth

As a homeowner considering selling your most valuable asset, your home, it can be frustrating to not have access to the same tools that would make quick work for any licensed real estate agent to estimate your home’s actual value. Yet, as an ordinary citizen, you may have spent hours or even days on end navigating popular websites that might help you find out what your home is worth.

If that’s you, then worry not, because as you can see in the graphic below, well over 27,000 home owners just like you have googled the key words “how much is my house worth”, just in the last 30 days alone.

Ahrefs' How Much Is My House Worth Search Volume

    With numbers this staggering, and because we know that many homeowners become frustrated with realtors and want to sell their home without using a realtor …We thought that it was time to share some little known free hacks to estimate the current value of your home (on your own).

    1. Use Free Online Home Value Estimators like Zillow

    It’s not a secret that Zillow has a free home appraisal calculator built into it’s real estate website, but is it accurate in determining what your home is worth? Zillow has reduced it’s 2006 error rate of 13.6% down to a current error rate of only 7.9%, according to Zillow‘s own research.

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    So should you solely use Zillow? No, but you should absolutely find the Zestimate for your specific property, write it down and see how it compares to the other figures that you will gather later.

    2. Generate Legitimate Offers From Real Investors

    As a seasoned real estate investor of over 5 years, I’ve spoken to and dealt with many homeowners that say they “need to sell”, yet they were hesitant to sell to me at my price. Why? Not because my offer was too low; it was because they didn’t feel that they knew exactly how much their house was really worth.

    So, to ease their concern about value, they went through the extra leg work to contact a few other investors and also got offers from them. They then compared those offers against mine to give them a better picture of their current “as-is” cash value of their home. But why not take it one step further and ask each investor that you meet with, to tell you what they would sell the house for, once any improvements were completed.

    This is an excellent way to get a good ballpark figure of your home’s value, based on the hard work & research of 3 unbiased investors.

    3. Research Your local Courthouse Deeds of Trusts

    Most homeowners don’t have enough experience in the real estate arena to know what they don’t know. In regards to finding your home’s value using guerrilla techniques, you might not know that researching your local courthouse’s deeds of trusts could help you get a very good idea of what homes are selling for in your very neighborhood. Here’s one way to go about finding a deed of trust:

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    1. Using your local County Appraiser’s Website, enter your street name or a street nearby where you live

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      2. Find a house that has a Deed date of within the last 12 months, like this one

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        3. Enter the home’s legal description into your County’s Clerk Office Records Website

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          4. In the search results, find the last Deed of Trust filed. Click on it…you’ll see the buyer’s loan amount when they purchased the property

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            Once you have the property’s loan amount and loan type (e.g. conventional/FHA/ VA), you can easily work your way backwards to get an idea of what the home probably sold for. For example, most FHA buyers finance the full 96.5% of the purchase, so calculate ($174,000 X 1.0362 = $180,298).

            This hack will get you very close to the total purchase price of the house, however, this method works best with FHA buyers. Many times the deed of trust will specify if it was an FHA loan or not.

            4. Estimate Value Based on Your Home’s Appraised Tax Value

            Having run hundreds if not thousands of comparable sales in my career as a Realtor/Investor, I have found that in my county (most likely many counties are the same), a properties assessed tax appraised value is equal to about 88-92% of it’s market value. This means that if a home’s market value is $100,000, then most likely its tax appraised value will be in the range of $88,000 to $92,000.

            If you’re county appraiser’s tax rolls are closely aligned to actual market values like this, then this quick hack may work for you.

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            5. Call For Sale Signs in Your Neighborhood

            FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, file photo, a "sale pending" sits atop a realty sign outside a home for sale in Surfside, Fla. The National Association of Realtors releases its pending home sales index for June on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

              Sure, if you’ve ever purchased a home, you already know that if you’ll call an agent’s for sale sign the agent will tell you the home’s current list price, square footage, and beds/baths of a home, but they won’t and simply can’t tell you what it’ll actually sell for. That’s because they don’t know…unless it’s under contract or pending sale.

              If you’ll simply ask the agent if the home is still available, and they say “no, it’s pending sale or under contract”, then you next question should be; Is it selling for close to list price? If the agent answer’s “yes” or “yes, right at list price”, then you basically just received a “real-time” value of your home (considering the home is very similar to yours).

              6. Get Comps From Someone You Already Know

              Asking someone you know that has their real estate license for advice is probably one of the easiest and least time consuming ways to get an extremely accurate value of your home. Why? Because real estate agents have access to their local MLS, which is chock-full of “real-time” sales data in your area. As a current licensee, I have never told a friend or a friend of family that I wouldn’t run a comparable sales report for them, so why not work through your existing Rolodex and call around to see who you know that knows an agent?

              More by this author

              James Vasquez

              Real Estate Investor

              Man focused on selling his home himself Here’s 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Sell Your House Yourself Here Are 6 Free Hacks To Help Estimate What Your Home Is Truly Worth Here Are 6 Free Hacks To Help Estimate What Your Home Is Truly Worth 5 Signs It's Time To Fire Your Real Estate Agent 5 Signs That It’s Time To Fire Your Realtor

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              Last Updated on October 18, 2018

              10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

              10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

              When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

              Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

              People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

              These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

              1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

              Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

              To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

              Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

              When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

              Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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              2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

              Things go wrong when you run your own business.

              Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

              Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

              Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

              Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

              If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

              3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

              Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

              As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

              Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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              After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

              Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

              He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

              4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

              No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

              It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

              You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

              Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

              An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

              5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

              You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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              As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

              Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

              Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

              You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

              6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

              In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

              Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

              • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
              • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
              • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

              By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

              7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

              Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

              As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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              8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

              No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

              Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

              9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

              Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

              If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

              10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

              Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

              Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

              If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

              The Bottom Line

              Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

              Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

              Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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