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1301 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA, 19122
United States

215-427-3463

Neighborhood help desk and catalyst for community engagement & action in the South Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia

The SKCP Blog

CASH FOR HOMES?

South Kensington Community Partners

Photo bandit signs cropped.png

KNOW THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME

Have you seen signs offering “CASH for YOUR home” or received flyers or mail with unsolicited purchase offers? Ever wondered if they would give you a fair deal?

By: Eileen Divringi

Having a good sense of the market value of your home is critical if you are thinking about selling. However, even if you do not plan on selling your home anytime soon, there are still several reasons why knowing the value of your home, which is the biggest source of wealth for many families, is important. For example, you may be thinking about borrowing money to make repairs or improvements to your home or to pay for a major expense. Borrowing against the value of your home with a home equity loan or cash-out refinance is often less expensive that using personal loan, credit card, or contractor-arranged financing.

 Estimating the value of your home is part science, part art. It’s nearly impossible to determine an exact “right” value, but there are several sources of information discussed below that can help you come up with a reasonable guess. If you need assistance accessing these websites, please stop by the SKCP office and ask a staff member to help.

 City Tax Assessments

Your “assessed value” is the home value that the City of Philadelphia uses to determine your property taxes. The city starts by determining the value of the land your home is on, then adds in the value of “improvements” (primarily your home). To find your assessed value, open a web browser and go to https://property.phila.gov/.  Type in your address in the search bar. Near the top of the page will be a table titled “Valuation History.” Look for the amount listed under “Market Value” for the latest year available (this may be next year).

 Zillow

Zillow is a widely-used real estate listings website. In addition to posting ads for homes for sale, Zillow does a lot of analysis on the sales data that they collect. They use this information to estimate the market value of all homes in the areas they cover, not just the ones for sale. To find your “Zestimate,” which is what Zillow calls its home value estimates, open a web browser and go to www.zillow.com. Type your street address and zip code into the search bar. The “Zestimate” is listed in the middle of the page under the picture. Scroll down to the section labeled “Home Value.” Under the house icon, a range of values that your home probably falls within is provided.

 Zillow also enables you to look at recent sales of similar homes near yours, which is often the best indicator of the likely sale price of your home. To do this, type only your zip code into the search bar. A map with homes for sale will come up. To change the map to display recent sales, click on the menu to the right of the search bar and make sure the only box checked is the box next to “Recently Sold.” Further to the right of the search bar, you can filter the map by number of bedrooms. Select the number of bedrooms in your home to make sure you are looking at units that are a similar size to yours. Keep in mind that if you have an older home, a newly constructed home is probably not a good comparison. Similarly, you should use the photos in each listing to see if the home has been recently renovated, which can also increase the sale price.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only. If you are making a major financial decision that is contingent upon the value of your home, it is always best to get an appraisal from a professional appraiser.