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“Worth” vs. “value”

On this chilly, rainy day in southwestern Georgia, a blogger may welcome time to stay in and write something. I’m currently representing a seller who is negotiating with a possible buyer on the purchase and sale of a nice property. The situation does not look promising, however, because the two parties are so far apart on the price.

One party may think in terms of the property’s “worth” while the other thinks in terms of its “value.” In many cases, this difference is based on emotion more than on facts. “Worth,” it seems to me, is more subjective, “value,” more objective. Let’s say, for example, that I want to sell my house. I may be motivated by its perceived worth to me as I reflect about my financial investment in the house, my “sweat equity,” improvements I’ve made to it, and my fond memories of it as my home.

But its worth to me is not the same as its value on the market. We Realtors estimate a property’s market value based on the selling prices of comparable properties. We research the sale prices of properties with basic similarities to the subject property in recent months in our area. After factoring in pluses and minuses for features of the properties that will make them more comparable in value, we arrive at a figure that we regard as a fair market value for the subject property. 

As you can imagine, this market value is often less than the worth of the property to the owner. In many cases the owner will choose an asking price between the worth attached to the property and the value suggested by the sales of comparable properties. This is about the best we can hope for as a starting point.

Bear in mind when putting your property on the market: Your real estate agent is on your side and, like you, wants to get the best sales price possible. But the agent’s primary duty is to help you get your property sold, and he or she knows that the market, more than our personal perceptions of worth, will determine the outcome of our joint efforts. We must let the market speak to us, and heed what it says.                

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About Michael Dixon

Real estate broker bringing buyers and sellers together for successful transactions for 21 years in Americus, Sumter County, Ga. and around.

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