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Know Your Real Estate Values

For most people, the real estate they own is their largest single asset. However, unlike stocks or bonds, you cannot determine the value of your real estate holdings by simply clicking on your favorite financial website. You will need the assistance of a real estate professional who works daily in the specific market of where the property is located.

Not only is our Wood River Valley different than the rest of the Idaho market, but we have unique markets within our markets. A West Ketchum condo is not an Elkhorn Townhome, just as a Mid-Valley or Hailey residence is not a Warm Springs ranch or North Ketchum estate. As they say, knowledge is power. As clients continually remind me, knowing the true value of their real estate holdings offers considerable comfort and benefits, including the assurance they are carrying sufficient homeowner’s insurance to prevent a loss in the event of a fire or flood.

Similarly, market value determines what you pay in Idaho property taxes based on the evaluation as determined by the Blaine County Assessor’s office. As a real estate professional, it is very common to see properties that are assessed either too high or too low. If the assessed value is too high, you are paying more in property taxes than you should.

At our Windermere brokerage, our clients receive a monthly market snapshot on real estate trends and values within each geographic segment of our County. While the report is a compilation of average sales price and median sales price for each segment, it is important to recognize that every property is unique. Parcel size, neighborhoods, access and locations all vary. Real Estate experience is critical, as not even the most accurate statistical report can factor in such variables as views and privacy.

One of the huge changes in the real estate industry today is the vast amount of data available to buyers and sellers. Via the internet, consumers can do their own research on market conditions, listings and emerging trends. The real question is; what is the source of the data being presented, and is it reliable? Consumers can be often misled by sites such as Zillow, which offers its visitors a “Zestimate” of what a particular property is worth. These types of values are often gathered from the average sales price of a particular zip code and can be grossly inaccurate.

When it comes to determining the value of a real estate holding, there is no substitute for a full appraisal done by a local licensed professional. However, a Realtor who works daily in the Blaine County marketplace and has access to the MLS sold-data, also has the fundamental tools necessary to determine  where your house should be priced at any given time. Additionally, understanding values is also a critical component when considering the purchase of any type of property.

While consumers will continue to use the Internet to research available properties, I would strongly encourage you to utilize a full-time real estate professional who not only knows and understands the Sun Valley marketplace, but is also experienced in contracts, negotiations and items of historical significance that may affect the property. In short, there is no substitute for industry expertise that provides comprehensive value, which is why I have remained a Wood River Insurance customer for over 15 years. If I can be of service in helping determine the value of a Blaine County property, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at 208.727. 1570.


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