If you have recently spoken to a real estate agent about selling your home, they may have mentioned “pulling comps” to get a quick idea of what your home could sell for. For those who have not spoken to an agent but are interested in getting an idea of what your home could sell for, today’s post is a quick guide on pulling your own comps. A comp, short for “comparable,” is a term used to refer to houses with characteristics similar to the home that you are either looking to sell or purchase. There is more than one method for pulling comps, so other people may use slightly different methods, but the theory behind them is all the same. If after reading this you would still like more information or have a specific question about comps for your home, please feel free to contact us.
Half Mile Radius
You want to make sure that you are comparing your home to houses that are as close by as possible. A good rule of thumb is that you want to use comps within a 0.5 mile radius. If you can narrow that radius down to 0.25 miles, that is even better. Fortunately, most residential neighborhoods in Ventura are pretty densely populated, so it should not be an issue to find at least a couple of good comps within half a mile. The hardest part in doing this might be determining the distance from your home on the website that you are using. Some of the more popular websites do not offer a distance option to help you judge how far you are zoomed in or out. In these cases, it may take some trial and error to figure out exactly how much you need to zoom to have a good indication of distances.
Recently Sold Homes
You want to look at homes that have sold within the past 6 months. If there has been a lot of activity in your area and you can narrow that down to 3 months, that is preferable. In some rare cases you may have to go back to as far as a year, but be careful when doing so as the market could have changed quite a bit in a year, especially with the swings that are known to happen in Southern California. Most experts suggest that you shouldn’t use active listings as comps. The reason for this is that you never know if the house is actually going to sell for that price, and can either end up selling for considerably higher or lower than listed. We like to look at active listings to see how long they have been on the market. If you see that they have been listed for more than a few weeks, this is usually an indication that they are asking too much money for the property.
As much as possible, you want to compare your home to others with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. You also want to make sure that the square footage is within 20% of your home, but preferably within 10%. It goes without saying that a bigger home in the same physical condition should be worth more, so you want to find homes that are as close as possible in size to yours. As mentioned above, the dense nature of Ventura County neighborhoods makes it fairly easy to find comps that are very similar, but sometimes you may have to settle for using comps that are not exactly the same as your home. If this is the case, make sure that you use comps that are as close as possible. In Ventura County, there should be little reason to have to use a comp that has more than an extra bedroom and bathroom than your home.
Once you get the above three items set in the filters of your website of choice, you should have a nice set of homes to use as comps. The next thing you want to do is open up each one of the comps and look at the pictures. You only want to use comps that are in similar condition as your home. If you have owned your home for a couple of decades and have not done any recent upgrades, you do not want to use comps that have modern kitchens and bathrooms. Likewise, if you have performed any type of work on your home, you will usually be able to get more than the properties that have sold in poorer condition.
The above four attributes are arguably the most important to pay attention to when pulling comps, but the year a home was built can be a sneaky factor that can throw your numbers out of the window. In some neighborhoods across the county, there have been fairly new homes built within close proximity to older homes, sometimes as close as a block away. It is possible that you could see two very similar homes in terms of size, bed and baths that sold for vastly different prices. If you do see this happen and the homes meet all the criteria above, you may want to check the year that they were built. Even if an older home has been recently upgraded and has no issues, it is still possible that it will sell for significantly less than a home that was built in the recent past. If you come across this situation, it is best to use the comps that are within the date that your home was built and exclude the newer home.
After doing all of the above, hopefully you have a set of between 3 to 5 good homes that you can use as comps. If you are looking to get as accurate as possible, there are additional factors that you can take into consideration to narrow these homes down even more, but that is beyond the scope of this post. For simplicity sakes, if you did a good job with your filters above, you should be within the ball park by taking the average sold price of these homes and using that number for what your home would sell for.