If you have not checked to see what your home is worth lately, you may be in for quite a surprise.   Nationally, and statewide, property values are skyrocketing and the median prices of homes are rising in double digits, specially the South Florida luxury real estate market. foreclosure process

The best way to determine the fair market value, is always to hire the services of a knowledgeable and skilled real estate professional to run a Comparative Market Analysis of your property to determine the price per square foot. A low, median and high price will be provided in order to assess true and accurate price per square foot.  Since this technique is based on comparables to the most recent sales, it is by far the most accurate manner to determine worth.  Whether prepared by an attorney or real estate agent, choose someone with knowledge and skill to determine the most accurate price.

Of course, there is always the formal APPRAISAL.  Although you will typically pay between $250.00 and $450.00 for an appraisal, this will also provide you with an accurate report of value based on recent sales. For buyers, sellers and investors, knowing and having this information is crucial.

There are also numerous websites and apps available to calculate value, including:

Zillow (www.zillow.com)

This will provide you with a  “Zestimate”  of fair market value.

For investors, Zillow also has a great little tool that estimates what the property would rent for.

And the Make Me Move feature, for those not quite ready to sell but curious about what they could get if they placed the property on the market. This tool allows you to name your price and see if anyone bites

Trulia (www.trulia.com)

Simply by entering your address,  Trulia  will do the rest.  You can also add any information that is missing from the property description such as new roof, or other facts, that will be re-estimated into price

Trulia is a great tool for house hunting, as you can search for homes by city, state or zip code.  It also allows for more refined searches, such as number of bedrooms or bathrooms, how many days on the market, and to see what new listing come on the market as they come up.

Trulia’s unique Heat Maps provide a graphic picture of an area’s sales, price trends and popularity. Adjust the Heat Map by neighborhood, city, county and state. You’ll also find school ratings, information about nearby businesses and comments from local residents.

Realtor.com (www.realtor.com)

This is the Official site of the National Association of Realtors.  You can have access to any homes that are listed and can refine searches by price, maximum, minimum, number of rooms, pool, zip code. This is by far the most comprehensive tool for buyers and sellers.

It is also packed with great resources such as a mortgage calculator, real estates trends and topics as well as home improvement advice.

And for all those tech savvy individuals, there are new apps each and every day such as Realtor.com app and apps created by realtors themselves, that will permit you to subscribe to their service and obtain up to the minute information about new listings, and follow their blogs.

Keep in mind that all the information on these sites are only starting points.  There is no substitute for a professional appraisal or Opinion of Value from a qualified Real Estate Attorney or Realtor