When determining the asking price of your home, you absolutely need to know its exact value. A big mistake that home-sellers sometimes make is to estimate the value of their home based on the prices of other homes in the neighborhood. The problem with this is that you really have no idea how that price was determined, by whom, and why. Two homes in a neighborhood that look very similar can have values that vary by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on a host of issues. From obvious amenities like the existence of a swimming pool to seemingly innocuous details, such as the style of landscaping, everything about a home will affect its price.

The most surefire way to find out what your home is worth is to hire an appraiser. Appraisers are qualified and educated to understand the value of every little thing about a home. He or she will take a tour of the inside and outside of the home and formulate a value based on what exists and the state it’s currently in. One thing that’s awesome about an appraiser is that they can give you advice on improvements you can make to raise the home’s value. These improvements don’t have to be massive projects like redesigning the kitchen or adding additional bedrooms (though that would certainly do the trick), but may be something simple you can do yourself. Things like adding a new coat of paint, while a big job, can greatly increase the value of your home.

Furthermore, appraisers can let you know some things that should be done, as opposed to what could be done. If they notice that some of the shingles on your roof are going to need to be replaced, they’ll let you know. Those patches of dead, brown grass in your backyard? They’re going to drive the value of your home down a bit, too.

If you want to get the best possible price for your home, you need to start with an accurate price. Hiring someone whose job it is to know the value of things is really the best way to start. Hiring an appraiser on your own is great, but if you’re working with a real estate agent talk to them about it first. They likely have a list of trusted appraisers that they work with.