What Determines Property Value?

Malcolm Tatum

Looking closely at current property values is one of several factors that people consider when buying or selling property. There are several factors that go into determining the market value of any type of real estate, including location, general condition, and the current state of the real estate market. Since the property value of a given property can change over time, it is not possible to determine the property value once and consider the task complete; generally, the value should be assessed on an annual basis.

Location may determine the property value of a home.
Location may determine the property value of a home.

One of the key issues to address when it comes to determining property value is the location of the property. In terms of residential properties located in a city or town, proximity to schools, houses of worship, parks, and shopping facilities will often increase the value. Areas where the crime rate is lower than other sections of town will also increase the desirability and have an impact on the price that the property will bring on the open market. Neighborhoods where the homes and landscaping are maintained will also enjoy higher values than sections where homes are run down and lawns are not kept.

Property values may vary for like-properties from one suburb to another within the same town.
Property values may vary for like-properties from one suburb to another within the same town.

The general condition and amenities provided by the buildings on the property are extremely important to property values. Floors that are sturdy and do not sag, roofs that don’t leak, and plumbing that is up to code and working efficiently all enhance property value. The square footage of the building, as well as the type and arrangement of the rooms will also make a difference. Generally, any characteristic or feature offered by the property that is considered desirable will increase the market value.

When evaluating property value, it is important to consider the current state of the real estate market itself. A home that offers many desirable characteristics, is well maintained, and is in a good neighborhood still may not be valued as highly as a similar property in another town, based on the local economy and its effect on real estate holdings. For example, a home with the same floor plan and square footage in a city may sell for more than the same type of home located in a neighboring suburb, simply because of the difference in the demand in the real estate markets of each area.

Knowing the current property value is important for several reasons. Local governments use the data to assess property taxes. Owners need to know current values in order to price properties within a range that is likely to attract qualified buyers. Buyers should understand property value so they can get an idea of what it will cost to buy the type of home they want in an area they find desirable. Since neighborhoods change and homes are not always maintained, property value can change in a short period of time. For that reason, it is always a good idea to have a professional assess the value of a given property before actually buying or selling the real estate.

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