Tips for Homeowners: Protecting the Value of Your Home

Posted October 7, 2015, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Foundation recently hosted a workshop for homeowners in Neighborhood Planning Unit V that focused on protecting the value of their homes — and dealing with unsolicited purchase offers. The workshop, one of several we’ve held in the past year, is part of our ongoing commitment to improving neighborhood conditions and filling vacant homes with new homeowners, while also ensuring existing homeowners have an opportunity to better their quality of life. The latter is particularly important in the midst of the major housing redevelopment underway in Pittsburgh.

Property values in Atlanta neighborhoods are on the rise, drawing the attention of investors, developers or real estate agents. These potential investors will approach homeowners and offer to buy their home. These unexpected offers can be intimidating for some homeowners and timely for others whose mortgages are underwater — a reality for more than 40% of Atlanta homeowners in 2013.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are three things to consider and to help inform your decision, courtesy of homeownership consultant Tia McCoy, who led the workshop:

  1. Determine your true home value
    Several factors should go into determining the value of your home, including appearance, functionality and maintenance of the property, as well as the size and layout of the house. Does your house have stairs? What is its square footage?

    You should also consider your home’s age and condition. When was the house built? This is important because the age will determine what upgrades may be needed. Finally, homeowners should think about any negative events, such as flooding or a fire, that may have caused damage to their home.
     
  2. Calculate the cost of moving
    McCoy especially urges homeowners with underwater mortgages not to make rash decisions. Beyond knowing the true value of the house, you should consider the full cost of moving, including the cost of your future home.
     
  3. Do a comparative market analysis
    A comparative market analysis evaluates the prices of similar properties recently sold in an area and can help a homeowner or real estate agent determine the listing price for a home. The analysis factors in the differences between the sold properties and the one that is about to be listed because no two properties are identical.

If you are interested in having a homeowner workshop in your NPU-V neighborhood, contact Casey’s Atlanta Civic Site office at 678.686.0145.