Real estate websites may not give accurate property values


Q: Someone in my neighborhood in Summerlin just listed their home for what seems to be a pretty high price.

I noticed that home prices are still going up, but I’m not sure if they’ve gone up enough to justify what my neighbor is asking.

I don’t necessarily want to sell my house right now, but I’d really like to find out what it’s worth. Should I call a Realtor, or would that be considered a waste of their time?

—Andrew H., Las Vegas

A: I can’t speak for all Realtors. But personally, I can tell you that I’m always happy to help homeowners who ask me such questions. I think it’s a great use of my time.

Most Realtors I know feel the same way. In fact, many of us find that this is a great way to build a good relationship with people who may just turn out to be clients one day, even if it’s years later.

For instance, I have been providing information about the local housing market to a contact of mine for about two years now.

When I’ve done this in the past, some of these homeowners eventually contact me to help them buy or sell a home. Some never do. Either way, I think it makes good business sense. And I think it’s the right thing to do.

Of course, it also helps homeowners better determine what their homes are worth, which helps our overall housing market. By providing good advice, we can help homeowners decide if and when they may want to sell their home and for how much.

This brings me to a related issue. I know many homeowners are visiting heavily marketed national websites to get an idea of what their home may be worth. As I always remind homeowners, this may be a good place to start or to get a very rough idea of the local market, but it’s not necessarily the most accurate source for information about your particular property.

You can’t always get the best estimate of what your home may be worth from such websites. There are just too many variables, and local market conditions change rapidly.

When you really want to know what your home is worth and get the best possible advice on when, if and how to sell it, the best thing to do is to contact a local and experienced Realtor.

Thanks for raising this issue and for sending me your question.

Heidi Kasama is the 2014 president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and has been a local Realtor for more than 11 years. GLVAR has more than 11,000 members. E-mail questions to ask@glvar.org. For more information, visit www.lasvegasrealtor.com.

 

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