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Nothing sentimental about value

July 29, 2007

I have been a residential real estate appraiser for 20 years. "No Magic Formula," July 15, provides a startlingly accurate primer on how home prices are determined. And yet home buyers seldom purchase homes based on statistical analysis. Home buying is an emotional experience.

The market never lies. Lower-priced properties are distressed, foreclosures, divorce sales or have had destructive tenants. Higher-priced houses are at the top of the market for location, condition, lot size and view. The rest of the homes will fall within a certain chartable, trackable range.

With the lowest interest rates since the Eisenhower administration and an unprecedented housing boom fueling the delirium of the early 2000s, it is completely understandable that we are now suffering a hangover. It'll be here awhile. But the market will come back.

If you really want to sell your home, and want real advice on how much to ask for it, do your homework before asking a real estate agent in your area what your home is worth. Then do yourself and everyone else a big favor: Believe it.

The data are what they are, they are confirmable and recorded with the assessor, and your emotions surrounding your home will not counteract that fact.

Get the most you can, but still sell it.

Bruce Carr


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