Groveland Real Estate Part Two: Real vs. Computer-Generated Value


By Penny Christensen and Larry Jobe, Yosemite Area Real Estate -- Paul S. Bunt Real Estate


One area we now need to deal with is computer-generated values for your property. Zillow and Realtor.com lead the way but since have been joined by many more. They are in widespread use by buyers, lenders, real estate agents and others. In a tract development where there are 300 homes and 6 models to choose from, these sites can be fairly accurate. In an area such as ours of custom-built homes with many variables affecting value, they are useless. In fact, they can be a negative. Lenders and appraisers consult them; some buyers and sellers do the same. As you can imagine, buyers tend to accept the low estimates while sellers tend to hang their hat on the higher estimates. As an example of just how far off these sites can be in our area, I once listed a home where one site said the “estimated value” was $283,000 and another placed it at $623,000. Clearly these sites were unable to factor in the many things which affect value in our small market. Today I have 6 sites which I consult to get a feel for what the “computer estimated” value might be since we know we will need to address any major differences.


We often get questions about “what can I do to make my house sell for more or faster?” As a general rule, anything you do to modernize or give the home “pizzaz” or make it “pop” will help the home sell for more. Having said that, you rarely recoup your entire cost of improvements, otherwise known as ROI (Return on Investment). One investment that we don’t see much affect on home price is solar. Whether owned outright or contracted for it doesn’t seem to add much in the way of price or desirability. In fact contracted can be a hinderance since in most cases the buyer needs to assume the remainder of the contract period.


Paint is the most cost effective according to most experts. Your best return is basically “neat and clean”. Trim trees, add color with flowers in planters or pots. Replace light fixtures with brighter ones. Paint the front door a nice bright color and replace old or worn hardware with new bright hardware. Clean siding, sidewalks, doors, windows, eaves, patio, patio furniture, etc., adds to appeal. Make sure the garage door is clean and painted to complement the home. Have your address clearly displayed and visible to the street.


Lastly, something we have little control over but which can have a dramatic effect on home sales and value is world events and the economy. Instability and uncertainty cause real estate values to fluctuate up and down. A good example of this was the COVID-19 effect causing values and demand to increase. Rising interest rates, falling stock market, inflation, war are all areas of concern and decrease real estate values.


42 Factors affecting the Sale Price and Desirability of Your Property


This list is in no particular order as various buyers have their own list of desirable / mandatory requirements. Some items you can change, some you cannot and some do not make economic sense to change.





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