Can a Comparative Market Analysis Help You?
To get the most accurate estimate of how much you should list your property for, your real estate agent can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA is an informal estimate of market value, based on sales of comparable properties in your area. It generally takes into account various aspects of your home, including size, features and annual costs. Reviewing comparable homes that have sold within the past year, along with the listing or asking price on current homes for sale, should help you determine a fair sale price for your property.
CMAs can include homes that are currently for sale and those which have recently sold. They can cover areas as narrow as one or two streets surrounding your home, or as broad as an entire subdivision.
Most real estate agents will give you a CMA for free, hoping you'll list your home with them. Each CMA contains valuable information on several recent sales, including:
- How long each property stayed on the market
- How close the sale price was to the asking price
- Notes comparing each home to yours, i.e.; number of bedrooms and baths, approximate square footage, sizes of major rooms, amenities such as fireplaces and pools, age of the home, property taxes and more.
The CMA is an informative selling tool, but like any tool, it doesn't work by itself. For this reason, the CMA will always need to be interpreted by a professional or with complete objectivity by the seller or buyer.
Remember, too, that the CMA is also a buying tool; it is considered just as seriously by the buyer and his or her agent. As you and your agent are going to use the CMA to ask the highest possible price for your home, the buyer is going to use it to find reasons to either choose or eliminate your home, and to arrive at the lowest price possible.
Important Questions to Ask an Agent Before Listing Your Home for Sale
- Do you have an active real estate license in good standing?
- How long have you been licensed as an agent?
- Why do you think I should list with you?
- What professional designations do you hold?
- What party will you represent -- the buyer or the seller?
- What services do you offer?
- Do you belong to an online homebuyer's search service?
- Have you listed or sold in my neighborhood lately?
- How will you price my home?
- How will you market my home?
- How will you keep in contact with me during the selling process, and how often?
- What is your fee?
- Will you cooperate with buyers' brokers?
- What share of commission will you offer a cooperating broker who finds the buyer?
- What awards have you won?
Important Questions to Ask Yourself About the Agent
- Is the agent a good listener?
- Is the agent accessible?
- Is the agent part-time or full-time?
- Is the agent cooperative and enthusiastic, or rude and arrogant?
- Do you think you can have a good working relationship with the agent?
Never allow random house-hunters into your home unescorted. A serious buyer will be working with a real estate professional or should be willing to contact your agent to schedule an appointment. Also, always lock your valuables away before an open house - the agent onsite will be monitoring traffic, but it's impossible to be everywhere at all times.