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Sometimes the fair market value of a home doesn't seem all that fair to you. You want the best price possible for it, which usually means getting all of your investment back. But, the reality is that real estate markets don't care about what you want. They represent an assessment of all of the participants that are out there buying and selling homes.

Valuations help you determine when it's time to sell, whether you should rent an apartment or stay where you are and just rent out a spare bedroom, or whether you should buy into another property.

You could call this a subjective judgement, or a socially objective evaluation based on the rational assessment of a home's worth at any given time. Whatever you choose to call it, the market value of your home is something you can't ignore. You can only try to improve it for your own benefit.

Do A Rough Comp

Look in the newspaper, or tool around town, and see what other homes like yours are selling for. Dig into the dark corners of the Internet, and try to find homes that are selling and what they are selling for. This is kind of how appraisers do a "comparable" on a home. It helps you get an idea of what your home might be worth. Of course, it's not absolutely set in stone that you can sell your home for this much, but it gets you in the ballpark.

Make Your Home Unique

If you're looking for things like "how to increase my home value" in Google, you're going to run into a lot of the same things. The central theme is that you must either pull out the uniqueness in your home, or create it. For example, do you have a unique property with trees or a back yard that's unlike what anyone else has? Make sure you advertise this.

If your yard has a swing that you built from some rope, an old plank of wood, and a humungous tree, this is a charming feature that will appeal to families. Who wouldn't want to swing from a tree?

Maybe your home has a breakfast nook that overlooks the countryside, or the woods, or your home is built into the cliff of a mountainside. These are features that can sell a home, and you need to advertise them.

Keep Tabs On Your Area

Is there a new manufacturing plant coming to your area? That could mean a lot of new jobs. New jobs means that there will be people looking for a home. And, this could also give you leverage to demand more from the buyer.

Call The Police

Why would you bother calling the police? Because you want to know the official crime stats in your area. Often, neighborhoods with high crime suffer from low property values. If you happen to live in an area with higher than average crime, you can try to offset that by starting a neighborhood watch program.

If you live in a "clean" neighborhood, then you can - and should - advertise that fact in the listing.