How to Determine Your House’s Worth in Canada
It’s nice to know how much your house is worth, even if just to satisfy your curiosity. Of course, there are plenty of concrete benefits to knowing your home’s value as well. One obvious perk is that you’ll be able to determine an accurate listing price.
Even if you’re not interested in selling your home, knowing its market value can help you gauge whether renovations have increased its desirability.
In this article, we’ll help you answer the question “how much is my house worth in Canada?” by looking at the various considerations you need to take into account.
How Much is My House Worth in Canada? Factors to Consider
One of the most common strategies for determining a home’s value involves conducting a comparative market analysis (CMA). In layman’s terms, this involves looking at property valuations in your immediate area. This goes far beyond simply opening up MLS.com and browsing around.
In this section, we’ll take a close look at the factors analysts (which can be anyone from your realtor to a home equity loan appraiser) consider when conducting a comparative market analysis (CMA).
This consideration entails researching the sale price of homes in your immediate area. How far back you go depends on where you live.
In a red-hot real estate market like Toronto, for example, you might only go back six months since property prices can rise by nearly 10% within a single year. With the average home in Toronto selling for roughly $1 million, relying on last year’s numbers could mean underselling your home by $100,000 or more.
In more stable markets, though, you could get away with looking at the past 12 or even 24 months of sales.
Of course, not every house in your area will be exactly like yours. The additional factors on this list help tailor the analysis to your home.
Economic conditions can have a massive impact on your home’s value. If joblessness has recently skyrocketed in your area, the supply of homes may far outpace demand, leading to decreased valuations.
If you’re wondering: “how much is my house worth instantly?”, this will be a major consideration since conditions may not improve by the time you plan on utilizing the value (either by selling or getting a home equity loan).
Your Home’s Target Demographic
If your house’s style gears it towards a specific demographic, that can also have a major impact on its value. Say, for example, you have a single-family home with an unfinished basement in a college town. It may not sell as easily as a property with a full basement apartment suite capable of being rented to students.
As another example, let’s say you have a luxury condominium. If factors have pushed high-end property owners out of your city (i.e. major companies are leaving to benefit from lower taxes elsewhere and taking their employees with them, crime has risen substantially, etc.), your property’s value may suffer as a result.
Nobody wants to buy a home in a violent or run-down neighbourhood. As such, location is a key consideration when asking: “what is my home worth?”.
If your neighbourhood has amenities, such as highly-rated schools and access to major transportation infrastructure, those can all have a very positive impact on your house’s value.
Factors Unique to Your Home
While the aforementioned factors can certainly offer a rough idea of your home’s value based on its surroundings, these additional considerations can help narrow the estimate down further.
The Home’s Design
Detached homes are generally seen as the most desirable. This is especially true in major real estate markets like Vancouver, where detached homes are becoming rarer and, consequently, easily selling for $1 million or more.
Another design-related factor is the number of bedrooms your home has. If you have a family home, anything less than two bedrooms will negatively impact its value relative to houses in the area with three or more bedrooms.
It’s a similar story with bathrooms. If your home has two or more bathrooms, buyers will generally see that as a perk and be willing to pay more than if it had only one.
Lastly, your home’s interior layout matters as well. For several years, trends have shifted towards open designs, making those more valuable at the moment.
The Home’s Size
The more square feet your home has, the more it will generally be worth relative to smaller properties in the area.
Your Outdoor Space
If your home has lots of outdoor space, this may be worth more to certain types of buyers (i.e. families). Conversely, it may be worth less to buyers more likely to see large outdoor space as a liability (i.e. elderly property owners who won’t be able to maintain such wide-open spaces by themselves).
Your Home’s Parking Situation
Does your home have a driveway or garage? These can add value, whereas on-street parking only can decrease it.
What Condition Your Home is In
Consumers won’t pay top-dollar for a home that needs major repairs. While there’s still a market for such properties (i.e. house flippers looking for a fixer-upper), you’ll generally be selling the home at a much lower price than you would if it were in better condition.
Whether You’ve Done Any Valuable Renovations
Home renovations can have a significant positive impact on your property’s value. Upgrading your roof or installing heated flooring, for example, can make your home more desirable to prospective buyers.
While it’s rare to make money on a renovation (i.e. spending $30,000 installing a pool and having it add $35,000 to your home’s value), some modifications can certainly add 80% of their value to your property.
This is why homeowners often take out loans to pay for renovations. Depending on the type of work, much of the loan may pay for itself!
The Property’s Potential to Generate Income
If your home has a basement capable of being used as an apartment, this can also add to its value considerably. In fact, while renovating your basement for this purpose can be quite expensive, it’s among the most rewarding home modifications since it can produce monthly recurring income.
Buyers recognize this and are willing to pay more for a home that has a basement apartment. When considering this renovation, however, it’s important to remember that in virtually every province, basement dwellings must meet certain building standards. You also typically need a permit.
In other words, don’t rush through a basement renovation without following the correct protocols or it may end up being a liability rather than increasing your home’s value.
A spare room may also be able to generate additional income, which is where having three or more bedrooms is an advantage.
Factors That Can Make Your Home Sell for Less or More Than its Worth
While the question: “how much is my home worth?” seems self-explanatory on the surface, an appropriate answer is a bit more detailed than that. You see, your home’s value can differ substantially from what you ultimately get out of selling it, depending on how you approach the process.
Let’s look at some of the most pertinent factors in this regard.
The Time of Year
According to RE/MAX, spring is the best time to sell a house. Buyers are typically motivated to move in before the summer months. The second best time of year, according to RE/MAX, is autumn.
Conversely, selling your home in winter can cause it to sell for less than it would otherwise be worth.
Your Marketing Efforts
Even in hot real estate markets like Toronto, a solid marketing strategy is key. Prospective buyers want to see high-quality photos of your properly-staged home. You can’t just pull out your cell phone, snap a few pictures, and expect to get top dollar.
Your Willingness to Wait
Selling a home is a major transaction. Given the amount of money changing hands, it’s very common for inexperienced sellers to get nervous and accept a lower offer than they should’ve.
Don’t get shaken out by aggressive negotiations. Canada is one of the world’s hottest real estate markets. You’ll get a fair price as long as you’re patient.
Looking to Tap Into Your Home Equity? Call Alpine Credits
If your reason for asking: “what is my house worth?” is that you’d like to tap into your home equity, look no further than Alpine Credits. For more than 50 years, we’ve helped Canadians unlock their home equity via affordable loans.
We’ll help you appraise your home to determine how much equity you have available for borrowing.
If you’re ready to begin the home equity loan application process, visit this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
The easiest way to figure out your home’s value is to look at what other homes nearby have sold for and then account for unique factors such as whether you’ve completed any major renovations that could’ve impacted its value.
Figuring out your home’s value is also fairly easy if you go through the home equity loan application process.
Many things can negatively impact your property’s value, including:
- failure to maintain the property
- making too many niche modifications (i.e. painting the walls an unusually vibrant colour or installing an unpopular countertop material)
- poor-quality renovations
- negative curb appeal
While you can sue someone for just about anything, your chances of winning and receiving any tangible benefit in this scenario are slim unless your neighbour has actually caused damage to your property.
Otherwise, your only recourse would be to report them for any relevant zoning violations. If inspectors identify a problem, your neighbour will simply have to fix it.
In other words, don’t expect to successfully sue your neighbour and recuperate funds you believe you would’ve gotten via selling your home if they took better care of their property.