How to Find the Past Value of a House

Before entering a house purchase transaction, a trusted professional real estate agent will assist you with “running the numbers.” In layman’s terms, that means objectively considering any data about the property’s value past and present.

That does not mean looking at the cosmetics to decide whether these are appealing. But deciding whether the financial decision will be wise. One method is looking at the historic fair market value, a priority when running numbers. 

The past value of a home will allow you to see if the home has grown in value with the progression of time. And from that, you can see if that will likely continue into the future. 

A professional real estate agent has access to many tools and a plethora of resources to assist in determining historic fair market value. Potential homebuyers would do themselves a great service working with this expert instead of attempting to DIY their purchasing experience.

Home value history by address

Fair market value matters more than most since it will influence the negotiation process and the list price for homebuyers and sellers with the sale. 

The recommendation is that if the “perceived fair market value” comes back at a lesser price point than the quoted selling price, the seller should consider making updates or renovating the home to justify the cost.

If not, buyers might choose to walk away since attempting to make an offer would be challenging since a negotiation process would be too far apart. The buyer will assume a problem if the value is much lower than the seller is asking. 

It is wise for a homeowner to pay attention to this value from the original purchase throughout the home’s life.

The historic home market value will let the homeowner stay apprised of the property’s appreciation over the years. When a new potential homebuyer looks at this history, and it proves to be positive, there’s greater confidence that the investment will be sound.

How to determine the historic fair market value

A professional real estate agent is someone a homebuyer should consider working with. The expert has access to many tools and resources that a person purchasing a home might not otherwise consider, including how to determine the historic fair market value of a home.

When attempting to make this determination, a shrewd investor will want to go beyond public records since these can show transactions between private sales that have nothing to do with the property’s authentic value. 

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There needs to be a greater degree of research using more authoritative resources.

Navigate through online tools

The real estate professional will guide you through the process on the internet of your first look at historic fair market values for properties you are interested in possibly pursuing for purchase. 

Many of the sites such as and the real estate agent has access to, most average buyers don’t. But these are ideal sources of information.

You will be privy to potential red flags so that your list of properties can be narrowed down until you find the one that suits you the most, which shows progressive appreciation over the years, a sound financial investment.

Of course, decisions won’t be finalized based solely on historic fair market value. It’s a significant plus. But the home needs to meet many other variables to be the right solution for your particular needs.

The real estate professional can work to produce specific calculations and data into varied sites they have access to in order to achieve past values for properties. 

The agent’s professional position gives them the knowledge and expertise to know precisely how to maneuver these sites to get the desired information required. Some sites that are ideal for this data include:’s guise is merely using the search bar to enter the address. The agent can then navigate to a graph to track the year’s worth of value they choose using an algorithm the local professionals determine. 

The suggestion is that this can be a good way to start the buying process but not necessarily ideal for getting the authentic idea of the historic fair market value, more so a general estimate. 

That will still speak to whether the home has progressively appreciated even if the figures are estimates and not precise.

As long as the numbers are not going backward, you have a property worth working with, a potential sound investment.

Again with this website, the idea is to enter the property’s address into the search bar. The indication is that this site will offer the user a “ten years worth of history referenced as a Zestimate.” They call it this because the figure is Zillow’s determination of the historical fair market value.

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Zillow offers a “frame of reference” for the potential homebuyer by allowing the user to see the comps referenced for valuation. Local agents are not necessarily fond of this particular resource, questioning the formula the site uses to decide the final result. 

They do find it is a helpful tool, however, as one for a buyer to get an overall picture of the history.

If nothing else, it can be used in conjunction with other tools to see how they each compare. Plus, you could potentially get some other helpful information from the site.

Neighborhood scout

It’s suggested that investors “pay-to-play” with this specific resource created to provide details allowing for a more educated decision. Not only does the site offer details on the history concerning the appreciation, but it forecasts the potential. 

There is also an analysis comparing the varied properties with not just the local community but national numbers.

While you get much detailed, critical data and calculations concerning properties you might be considering, this might be a resource you consider when you’ve already narrowed your choices to the final possibilities since it’s a “pay-to-play” option. 

Once you have a general idea of the homes you will likely be pursuing but now need to know if these will make financial sense, it’s not so disconcerting to spend money to find out if they’re a sound investment. 

Otherwise, paying for a site to select adequate properties you’re unsure of from the start doesn’t make a lot of sense.

FHFA Housing Price Calculator

It’s indicated that this particular tool doesn’t designate a property’s historic fair market value. The aim is to facilitate comparable local appreciation calculations to establish a projected value for the future; that’s the ultimate target you’re looking to find.

While the historic fair market value will show you how the home has appreciated to the point it’s at, currently, you ultimately want to see what the future looks like for the property if you were to invest. 

It might have done super in the past, but the future is a whole new ball game. Things can change drastically depending on what’s happening in the surrounding area, and community. 

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Perhaps, businesses are leaving. Maybe, the house is no longer being maintained in the fashion it was accustomed to; any number of factors can affect future appreciation.

While you want to ensure it has progressively appreciated in order to recognize a sound investment, the goal is to find out if it will give you a good return on that investment down the road when it comes time for you to sell the property. You don’t want to be the loser in the long line of winners.

There are many other sites including, and you can try them as they have public records for home values, etc…

What can a real estate professional do for you?

Many of the tools and resources you consult, which you should take advantage of, will show varied specifics but comparable trends. When working with a professional agent, the expert will establish the historic fair market value by deciphering each resource’s details.

Agents consistently watch the varied sites listed here since clients refer to these. That allows them to translate for you where one might be following closely to the actual figures or possibly falling somewhat short of the numbers.

Their experience and knowledge in the industry allow a more exact valuation.


Before you decide to purchase a home, much research goes into the process. A priority is determining whether the investment will be financially sound. 

If you’re versed in real estate processes, you can navigate varied resources and tools in a DIY capacity. Otherwise, it makes sense to reach out for assistance in collecting and assessing investment-related details regarding the historic fair market value, particularly with a real estate professional. 

These agents are connected to many valuable people, websites, and details in their profession that, most predominantly, the average client is not. You can learn a great deal about the properties you’re interested in, plus narrow these down based on this professional’s expertise. 

Of course, there are many factors you will want to look at when buying a home, precise location, type of property, and condition, but these fall after you assess the value.

That means not only considering the past value but what you can look forward to in the future.

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