Utilization of Comparable Sales in Buying

Susan Kelly

Nov 02, 2023

Sellers and purchasers of residential property should constantly take into consideration similar transactions while doing business in the market. Comparable sales sometimes called "comps," are the selling prices of properties that are similar. As a buyer, you should request that your real estate agent provide you with at least ten recent transactions that are similar to the one you're interested in purchasing. Comps are the greatest method to obtain a sense of availability, pricing, and the neighborhood while visiting properties.

The Rationale for Using Prior Sales Data

A vendor might convince a customer to pay a certain amount by pointing to recent similar transactions. Still, consumers will pay what they consider to be a reasonable price. Rarely will a buyer tell you that they wish they had spent more for a property; instead, they will almost always try to get the best deal they can. On the other hand, when purchasing a property, purchasers often fear that they may have paid too much. This is particularly true in seller's markets. No purchaser enjoys learning that the home they just bought is worth far less than they spent.

Getting an appraisal done is a great approach to establishing and defending a price. But assessments are just someone's view of what something is worth. In other words, the quality of an evaluation depends on the expertise of the person doing it. A seller may choose to cut their asking price in response to a low assessment. If the seller is unwilling to negotiate, you might challenge the valuation by providing recent sales as evidence. In cases when there are limited sales to use as comps, it may be necessary to make adjustments to account for exceptional features; nonetheless, the ideal sales to use as comps are those that are most similar to the subject property.

What Makes a Comparable Sale?

The sales used as comps are not those currently on the market or those that are under contract. In comparison to the value of a house that has already sold, such estimates are meaningless. A buyer that utilizes comparable sales is often seeking to justify a price that is lower than what the previous owner of a similar house received for it. The appraised value of a house may be estimated using the same methods that professionals do.

Recent Sale Timeframe

When analyzing comparable sales, most appraisers will look at public data from the last six to twelve months. Information that is more than several months old is not only erroneous but also not a valid comparison since the market might shift during that time frame. To get an accurate sense of the local real estate market, it's ideal for comparing recently sold houses, which often occur within the past three months.

Close Proximity

In an ideal situation, you would look at house sales figures from a particular radius around the property in question, which is normally between one-fourth and one-half miles away. Closer proximity is preferred. It is better to compare properties within the same area. However, this is not always possible. For instance, if you are searching for a house in a neighborhood that has a lakeside on one edge and a main road on the other, you shouldn't compare a house that is on the side of the lake to a house that is on the side of the street, regardless if the houses are comparable in all other respects.

Similar Square Footage

You can't just increase the cost of a house with 1,000 square feet to get the worth of a house with 2,000 square feet. This is due to the fact that the price per square foot of smaller houses is much greater than the price per square foot of bigger dwellings. Ideally, you'd want to find comparable properties that are extremely similar in size to the one you're considering.

Similar Age & Construction

It's important to think about the house's age and also the stuff it was built with; if you're lucky, you may use identical houses in the same development as a basis for comparison. Alterations to the house's framework also need to be considered. In contrast to the typical 25–30 years of service life provided by composite shingles, tile roofs endure roughly 75 years. There might be a shift in the home's asking price if the addition of a tile roof is seen as an improvement.

Similar Lot Size

Some more recent housing developments provide a more diverse range of lot sizes. For instance, if the lot line of a house is 0, it signifies that there is no yard at all. The side or outdoor area may lack grass or plants, which is unappealing to families with kids.

Similar Condition

It is sometimes difficult to ascertain the condition of a comparable sale without the assistance of a neighborhood professional who is well-versed in the layout of properties in a certain region. For instance, a bank-owned, foreclosed property that has been stripped of all furnishings and copper plumbing is far less valuable than a readymade home that has been upgraded with new furnishings, carpets, and paint.

Mixing Aspects

One of the most reliable approaches to determine a home's worth is to use a weighted average of these factors across numerous homes that are comparable to the one under consideration. The agent or appraiser might utilize them to help arrive at a fair price that will satisfy both parties. Before closing a transaction, it's a good idea to do some research on similar properties to be sure you're receiving a fair price.

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