How do I find comps for my house? It’s a common question for any homeowner looking to sell. Read on for tips on how to find and evaluate housing comps.
Thinking about selling your home means a long list of things to do to prepare. Especially if you’re interested in selling by owner, you’ll have to start at the literal beginning — figuring out the price.
Before the staging, property photographs, and listing write-up, you need to know how to price your home. It’s a tricky balance. If you go too high, your home may sit on the market for a long time. If you go too low, people may worry there’s something wrong with your home, something they can’t easily see. Either way, you’re not getting the best possible outcome putting your home on the market.
To establish the best possible price for your home, you need to look at comps. These are homes within your own neighborhood that are similar in size, age, condition, and overall features. They should have also sold recently. Homes can look a little different, but you want to have as much in common as possible to generate an appropriate price for your own home.
How do I find comps for my house? Track down the right comps to price your home by following this process. Once you’re done, you’ll have a realistic idea of how much your house will sell for on the market.
1. Begin your search online
The first step to locating comps is to see what has recently sold. The same sites that help you look for a new home can provide the right information to help you price yours.
These iBuyer and listing sites are typically the best places to search:
- Zillow — Not only does Zillow let you see recent home sales, but they also have their own Zestimates for every property. You can even look at your own property, although these numbers aren’t as reliable as what you can calculate using the actual sale prices of comps.
- Realtor.com — You can also track what your home is worth here. Realtor.com allows you to look at home value from multiple sources to get an average estimate. You can also access a list of recently sold properties.
- Trulia — Use Trulia to browse sold listings as well as gain basic insights into your own neighborhood. This will help you understand where your home fits within the range of properties available.
- Redfin — Another site with a home value calculation tool, Redfin can give you a quick estimate on your own property, while also providing details on recently sold homes in your area.
Whichever site you prefer, it’s fine to use the estimate tool for your own home. But don’t replace your search for comps with the information you get. Comps will help you get a more accurate price than letting these sites do the work for you. Just be sure to limit the search for homes to those in your area that sold within the past six months. In the end, you want to have at least three solid comps you can use in the equation to price your own home.
2. Establish features to compare
After pooling a larger list of homes that could work as comps, the next step is to start comparing features. This helps you eliminate ones that aren’t close enough in age, size, or upgrades to work. Homes that are too different from yours won’t help you get an accurate price and can lead to your home lingering too long on the market.
Key features to compare include:
- Square footage
- Property acreage
- Home Age
- Architectural style
- Number of bedrooms
- Number of floors
If you’ve made a few upgrades to your home, you’ll also want to try and find comps that contain those too. If you can’t, make sure you give your selling price a little boost to account for the nicer items in your own home. Likewise, if you only find homes with upgrades that you don’t have, knock your selling price down a touch.
Some upgrades to account for include:
- Hardwood floors
- Granite countertops
- Upgraded kitchen cabinets
- Stainless appliances
- Finished basement
Finding homes with as many features as possible in common with yours make those properties the strongest comps. Even if you have to go a little outside your neighborhood, they’ll still help you calculate the most competitive price.
3. Whittle down your options
At this point, you should have a small, concise list of potential comps. You want to then narrow down your list to between three and five options. Having more than that isn’t necessary and could leave you with too much discrepancy between properties.
Make sure to look at the pictures of each property within their listing to ensure the stats on the home are correct. You also want to be sure you’re only looking at homes with a final sale price. Those still under contract aren’t necessarily accurate, and could skew your estimate.
Pick the homes most like yours in age and size when it comes to prioritizing key features. Don’t look at townhouses if you live in a single family home and vice versa. Then, see how many additional features you have in common. The ones with the highest overall number are your comps.
4. Calculate a price
The two big pieces of information you’ll need to calculate the price of your home from comps are their final sale price and their actual square footage. Your goal is to get a price per square foot which you can then apply to your own home. To get this number:
- Add up all the final sale prices of your comps.
- Divide by the total number of comps.
- Add up all the square footages of your comps.
- Divide by the total number of comps.
- Divide the answers to your two equations.
You now have the average value per square foot. Take that number and multiply it by your square footage, and now you’ve estimated the price of your home. Make adjustments up or down based on the upgrades you have or haven’t made in your home compared to the comps, and you’re done.
5. Weigh time and money
With the final price ready, the next thing to think about is how that price makes you feel. Is it less than you thought it would be? If so, is there anything you can do to your home to increase its value? Even if you’re happy with the price, how would you feel if it sat on the market for a while?
Taking these factors into consideration can help you decide the best way in which to sell your home now that you’re ready. Maybe it will take too much time and/or money to get your home ready to list for the price you want. In that case, you might want to consider alternate methods of selling your home besides the real estate market.
Related: How Much Is Your Home Really Worth?
Bypass the comp process altogether with an off-market buyer
If the comps don’t bring you the best news, don’t give up on selling your home. Consider working with an off-market buyer to get a price as close to market value as possible without the hassle of a traditional listing.
At Sundae, we help sell houses as-is on our marketplace for the highest price possible. No staging and no repairs are needed. We focus on distressed properties, so we understand how to fairly evaluate a home in need of love and help you get a competitive offer in your hand from our network of investors.
Contact Sundae today to learn more.
Composed by a team of experienced content, marketing, and real estate professionals, the Sundae Blog is a go-to authority for tips, instructions, and data-driven insights aimed at helping homeowners maintain, renovate, sell, and buy homes, while navigating a complex real estate market.