Row of suburban homes.

Real Estate Comps: How To Find Comparables For Your Home

Lauren Nowacki5-minute read
UPDATED: July 25, 2023

It can be hard to put a price on a home you love – whether you’re the one selling it or buying it. While your emotions may tell you one thing, the condition of your home, the state of the market and the amount others are willing to pay for the property may say something else.

It doesn’t have to be a guessing game. When deciding how much to ask for a home you’re selling or offer on a home you’re seeking, real estate comps can help provide an accurate answer.

What Are Real Estate Comps?

Real estate comparables, or comps, are similar homes that have recently sold in a specific area, and they help determine the fair market value of a house. Comps are typically used when someone is buying or selling a property and wants to make sure they offer or ask the right sale price. Real estate comps should be recently sold homes in the same area, and they should be as similar as possible to the property in question. Similarities should include size, age, number of rooms and condition.

Selling your home?

Work with a real estate agent who knows your local market.

Who Uses Comps In Real Estate?

Real estate comps are helpful for professionals and everyday people who may be purchasing or selling a home – or are just curious about local home values. Here’s how various groups of people may use house comps:

  • Home sellers: Home sellers use real estate comps to determine a fair listing price that maximizes their profit but is still within a buyer’s price range. Real estate comps show sellers what buyers are willing to pay for a home like theirs. Comps can be especially useful when a property is for sale by the owner, because the seller isn’t typically getting guidance from an agent with knowledge of the local market.
  • Home buyers: To better understand how much to offer on a home, home buyers may view similar homes that have sold in the area. This shows them what others are willing to pay and helps them make a more educated – and less emotional – offer on a house. While these homes may not come at the same price as other comps, a buyer can use this knowledge as a jumping-off point. For example, if the home they’re buying is more outdated than comparable homes in the area, they may decide to offer a little less.
  • Real estate agents: Real estate agents use the multiple listing service (MLS) to find comps in order to create comparative market analysis (CMA). Agents also use comps to help sellers decide on a good listing price and to stay updated on local market trends.
  • Appraisers: Professional appraisers will perform a home appraisal and use real estate comps to determine how much a house is worth. As they review the comps they selected, they’ll make additions or subtractions based on their observations of the home, which may include updated features, the home’s overall condition and finished versus unfinished spaces.

How Do You Find Real Estate Comparables?

Home buyers and sellers can look for home comps in several ways. Working with a local real estate agent to analyze the MLS is one of the easiest ways to get your hands on comps. But if you aren’t ready to work with an agent just yet, you can also do research by diving into public records or looking online, especially on reputable real estate websites.

Factors To Consider When Finding Comps For Your House

When conducting your analysis, you’ll want to review and compare at least three properties that are the same or similar in the following ways:

  • Location and nearby features: A property in a coveted location, neighborhood or school district, or that’s close to certain amenities, may be more desirable, increasing the property’s
  • Property size: The size of a house and the amount of acreage it sits on can raise the overall value of a property. Be sure to compare properties that not only share a similar square footage but have similar lot sizes and a similar amount of outdoor space.
  • House condition and age: Unless the property is a historical home, old or outdated houses are usually less valuable than newly constructed or renovated homes. Make sure the homes you’re comparing were built around the same time.
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: A house with more bedrooms and/or bathrooms will typically price higher than one with less.
  • Time frame: The housing market can change That’s why it’s important to compare properties sold within the last 3 – 6 months. For example, you probably shouldn’t compare a home that sold in early 2021 to one that sold in the first few months of 2022.
  • The season: When the market is hot, particularly during the summer – aka peak buying season – home prices may be higher and homes may sell faster than in the winter months.

Tips For Locating The Best Real Estate Comps

Whether you’re a home buyer, seller or curious homeowner, follow these tips for finding the best real estate comps when you’re ready to determine the value of a home.

Review Recently Sold Listings

While active listings can give you an idea of other asking prices, it’s important to look at sold property listings when reviewing comps. That’s because the listing price isn’t the final price on houses that are for sale or pending sale.

Several factors may influence the sold price. For example, the home might’ve appraised for lower than the listing price, or something may have been found during the inspection that caused the seller to lower the price. On the other hand, a bidding war may have driven the price of the home up by thousands of dollars.

Visit The Comp In Person

If possible, check out the property in person when evaluating whether the house is a good comparable. You can see a lot that the listing may leave out, including cracks in the driveway, an outdated roof, missing shingles or siding, a crumbling porch or a poorly maintained yard.

You’ll also get a better idea of the neighborhood. As you drive around, make note of how other homes and yards are maintained, if kids are playing outside, if it’s noisy or quiet, and if certain amenities are nearby.

Use Various Sources

There are a few ways to find comps. You could look through public property records – online or at the courthouse – or browse recently sold homes on various listing sites. You could also use the Rocket Homes℠ property report, which not only shows similar recently sold homes in the area but also tells you the average time on the market and housing market conditions – including how many homes are for sale in your area.

You don’t have to go it alone, either. Consult with a real estate agent or industry professional who can help you find comps, translate terms and answer questions, walk you through the information and show you how to compare the homes.

The Bottom Line

Real estate comps are helpful for home buyers, sellers and other real estate professionals. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s best to consult with a real estate agent to determine the right price for a home – in addition to the other steps to take during the buying or selling process.

Are you thinking about buying a home? Before you make an offer on a home, make sure you know how much you qualify for. Get started with Rocket Mortgage®.

Selling your home?

Work with a real estate agent who knows your local market.

Lauren Nowacki

Lauren is a Content Editor specializing in personal finance and the mortgage industry. Her writing focuses on reporting the best places to live in the U.S. based on certain interests and lifestyles. She has a B.A. in Communications from Alma College and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.