One of the most common problems that people have when looking to buy or a sell a home is that they don’t understand the current market conditions. The market is in a constant state of flux, and even a few months can drastically change the atmosphere and pricing of homes in an area. For example, seasonal changes, economic downturns, and current events can all affect the value of housing in an area.

Understanding the current market value of a house is an important step in the home buying process. Whether you are selling or buying, having a good idea of what prices will be competitive on the market will allow you to pass on bad deals, while not missing out on potentially lucrative ones. Unfortunately, for someone without experience in the market, it can be incredibly difficult to get a good idea what the value of a property is. While your property may have been purchased at a certain price, and other properties in your neighborhood might be selling for certain prices, this does not necessarily mean that yours will be worth the same. There are many subtle factors which influence the value of a home, and failing to take them into consideration could put you at a considerable informational disadvantage when conducting your negotiations. Aside from the current market, differences in the age of your home, the position in your neighborhood, or even less obvious things such as school district boundaries will all need to be considered.

To this end, hiring a realtor or market professional who can help you find out the real value of your house (and the current market climate) can be one of the best decisions that you make when looking to engage in potentially life changing transactions involving expensive real estate. While it is always good to do your own research, when you are dealing with the sums of money involved with real estate purchases, you owe it to yourself to hire a professional. You wouldn’t hire an amateur to do something simple like fix your car or install an electrical system, so don’t hire an amateur (yourself) to conduct what can be the most important financial transactions of your life.

At the end of the day, the current market condition is just one more factor which you will need to take into account when preparing to buy or sell a house. Whatever your situation, make sure that you do your research before making any decision.