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How much is my home worth?

In today's fluctuating real estate market, answering that question can be extremely complex. Generally, there are four criteria that can help homeowners determine an accurate (as well as maximum) selling price for their home. First, investigate area trends. Check with a real estate agent to determine the current selling price of homes in your area. Real estate firms generally survey properties in the surrounding areas and translate that to computerized reports divided into specific communities. Compare your home with similar homes that have sold. This should provide you with an idea of what homes are being sold for as opposed to what they are listed for. Next, pay attention to "migration" trends and see if people (and businesses) are moving in-or out-of the area. One of the best ways to track movement is to read the business section of the local newspaper or talk to the Chamber of Commerce. If there is a lot of movement into the community, chances are home prices will be going up at a relatively rapid rate. Obviously, if there is heavy migration out, prices will be flat or could even drop. Remember, as well, that two side-by-side homes can command radically different prices. Part of the reason can be attributed to certain features that may enhance the value of the home in the buyer's eyes. For instance, older homes that have been upgraded with new fixtures, windows or room additions command higher prices than homes that remain unchanged. In many cases, with minimal expenditure, these price-enhancing features can be added and sellers can often increase the property's value by thousands of dollars. Unchangeable elements such as lot size, or single story versus two-story can, of course, impact the value of adjoining homes. Perhaps one of the most critical elements in selling a home, is pricing. By carefully following the local real estate market, or contacting a real estate professional, not only can sellers determine the right time to sell but, more importantly, they can also ascertain the correct price to list the property to get it sold.

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