Chapter 10

What’s It Worth?

In This Chapter

Becoming an educated buyer

Determining the value of homes

Red flagging overpriced houses

Protecting yourself from overpaying

You see a home for sale. The asking price is $249,500. Is that charming cottage a steal or an overpriced turkey?

If you don’t have the faintest idea, don’t worry — that’s normal. Most buyers don’t know property values when they start hunting for a home. To become an educated buyer, you need to take time to familiarize yourself with property values.

When Ray began his real estate career, he spent dozens of hours each week looking at houses. Like all new agents, his appetite for property was boundless and indiscriminate — big houses, tiny condos, old property and new, houses in pristine condition or fixer-uppers, uptown, downtown, and midtown. If it had a roof and a For Sale sign, Ray toured the property inside and out.

Why? The best way to learn property values is to eyeball as many houses as possible and then monitor them until they sell. That’s how agents educate themselves.

Tip.eps You don’t need to see every house in town to get educated. A good agent can accelerate your learning curve by playing the real estate version of show and tell. You have to tour only houses that meet your specific wish list for budget, style, size, and neighborhood. After seeing no more than a dozen houses comparable to your dream home, you ...

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