Q. How do I determine the value or retail price of a property?

A. Following are the steps that we use to determine the after repair value of a property.

Determine the ARV quickly by doing one or more of the following:

1. Ask the seller - the seller probably knows in general what their property is worth. Use this number until you determine any thing different. Sellers are close on values 80% of the time.

2. Ask the seller to fax you the most recent appraisal. Most people have refinanced their homes recently; therefore they probably have an appraisal that can provide some good ARV data.

3. Know the area - attempt to do business in a specific geographic area so that you know what houses are worth in those target neighborhoods.

4. Ask a realtor - get friendly with a realtor that knows the area. They can pull a competitive market analysis (CMA) from Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to determine value.

5. Get access to MLS - ask a realtor to give you the login for their MLS to do your own research. You can then do you own CMA.

6. Drive around the neighborhood to see what other properties are on the market for. These numbers may be higher than actual value but it will give you some comparables.

7. Tax records - real estate transactions are public record. You can go to the local courthouse and get the sales price of properties in the area. Tax records are also available online in many markets.

8. Just guess - if you are totally stumped and cannot find any data, just pull a number out of the air. You can adjust later after you gather more information.