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Interested in Refinancing? First, Determine Your Home Value

by Gabriel  Traverso
Mortgage Directory Columnist

If you have equity in your home and are interested in refinancing your mortgage, it's important to know your home value before you apply for refinancing. Here are some tips on how to find out what your home is really worth.

Mortgage Refinancing Tips

When you think about refinancing, your first thought may be that you need to get an appraisal. In this you are partially right. If you find that you have enough home equity to merit a refinance, your mortgage lender may require an appraisal as part of the loan process. But what if you're not even sure you have enough home equity to make it worthwhile? Certainly you don't want to go through the hassle of a mortgage application only to find you won't qualify for the refinancing you want. Your first step should be to talk with a real estate agent.

Getting a Free Estimate on the Value of Your Home

When an appraiser looks at your home to determine its market value, they look at hard data--namely, how much have comparable properties recently sold for. While this is accurate to a degree, it doesn't give you an idea of how the market might be changing. What if prices are going up in your area? A local real estate agent is far more likely to have a better understanding of what your home is really worth. Find a real estate agent familiar with your market, someone with their finger on the pulse of homes being sold and bought in your neighborhood, and ask for a "Competitive Market Analysis." Most agents are willing to do this at no cost to you, providing you're willing to refer business to them.

By speaking with an agent you'll get a more accurate picture of what homes are going for in your market, and therefore have a better idea of how much home equity you really have. Take this step before applying for your mortgage refinance and save yourself some time!

About the Author
Gabriel Traverso is a freelance writer, independent musician, and artist. He resides in Reno, NV.

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