How to Know What a Home Is Worth in Seattle: A Buyer’s Guide

Published:
September 23, 2022
Last updated:
September 23, 2022
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It’s no secret that Seattle home prices have risen sharply over the past couple of years. According to the latest data from Zillow, the median home value for the Seattle metro area rose by more than $200,000 in the last two years alone.

As a result, some future home buyers might find themselves asking the same questions. How do I know what a particular house is worth in the Seattle area, when making a purchase offer?

The short answer is that real estate market conditions, such as supply and demand, determine what a house is worth. And you can figure this out by looking at recent sales data in the area where you plan to buy.

How Much Is That Seattle Home Worth?

One of the best ways to estimate how much a Seattle-area home might be worth is by reviewing comparable sales. In a real estate context, a comparable sale (or “comp”) is a similar house that sold recently in the same area as the one you’re considering.

By reviewing price data for comparable sales, you’ll start to get a sense for how much a house might be worth in the current market. The good news is, you can find a lot of this information online for free.

For starters, you could visit a property listing website like Realtor.com and enter the city or ZIP Code where you plan to buy. You could then filter the results to show “recently sold” homes and identify those that are similar to the one you’re considering. You’ve just found your comps.

This is similar to what real estate agents do when preparing a “comparative market analysis” for their clients. Granted, a real estate agent might have access to additional data and resources not available to the public. But even so, you can find enough information online to at least estimate what a home is worth in Seattle.

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Using a Home Valuation Website

Some websites take this a step further by allowing you to enter a specific street address. They would then give you an estimated market value for that particular property, based on recent real estate trends and data.

Just know that these websites can sometimes lag behind current market trends. So you might be better off doing your own research, looking at recent sales in the area where you plan to buy.

You could also combine these two strategies. You could look up some comparable sales data on your own, and combine that with a home valuation website to get a more comprehensive view.

Again, you want to focus on similar properties that have sold recently in the same area. Similar, recent and close — those are the three most important characteristics for a good comp. So you’ll have to tailor the search parameters as needed, to get the most useful data.

Regardless of the method being used, the end goal is the same. You’re trying to find out how much a house is worth by looking at recent sales activity in the same real estate market. This in turn will help you determine how much you want to offer.

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Working with a Real Estate Agent

Thanks to the internet, we live in the age of consumer empowerment. Consumers can go online to conduct extensive product research, before making a purchase.

This is true for the real estate world as well. We just talked about the different ways a house hunter could use the internet to find out what a home is worth in the Seattle real estate market. And it’s worth the effort, when you consider the size of investment you’re about to make.

Still, it’s generally a good idea to have professional help when buying a home in the Seattle area. And that’s where real estate agents come into the picture.

An experienced agent can help you make sense of all that data floating around, to determine what a particular home is worth. In addition to the public tools and websites mentioned above, real estate agents often have access to proprietary data and resources.

A market-savvy agent can also help you “add or subtract” value, based on any differences between the house you’re considering and whatever comps you’ve reviewed.

For example, there might be a scenario where you have to increase or decrease your offer amount based on the unique features of the home you want to buy. Does it have a more spacious lot than the “comp” properties? A recently renovated interior? A better view or a luxurious patio area? All of these things factor into the market price of a house.

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