You’ve probably heard before that buying a home is a great investment. Low volatility, excellent return rates, and tax advantages are just a few of the reasons people choose to put their money into real estate.

If you’re curious about just how good an investment your home is or are thinking about dipping into the real estate market, know that there’s a little math involved. We’ve created the Home Appreciation Calculator to determine the ROI on your real estate investment. Use this tool to plan your financial future and determine what you can expect the home to be worth down the road.

Important Terms to Know for the Home Appreciation Calculator

Need a little help with the terms on the calculator? We’ve put together a list of definitions used on the tool.

ROI

Return on investment, commonly abbreviated ROI, is a term that signifies the ratio between net profit and the cost of an investment. ROI can be positive or negative. A positive ROI indicates that you are making money on an investment; a negative ROI suggests that you have lost money.

ROI is calculated with a relatively simple formula. Start by subtracting the initial value of the investment from the final value. This calculation gives you the net return. Divide the net return by the initial cost of the investment. Because ROI is most commonly expressed as a percentage, multiply this final number by 100.

You might notice that adjusting the down payment percentage results in a different ROI percentage at the bottom of the tool. This calculator uses the “out-of-pocket method,” which is the preferred method of real estate investors. When you use this method, only your out-of-pocket expenses are considered when calculating your initial investment amount.

Profit

Profit is the realized financial gain when the revenue generated from a real estate sale exceeds the initial cost, plus any improvements made throughout ownership. Keep in mind that this calculator only considers the initial cost when determining profit, so the formula looks like this: sales price – purchase price = profit.

Purchase price

Purchase price refers to the price that you initially purchased your home for. This includes your down payment, plus the remaining amount that you might have financed through a lender.

Down payment percentage

Your down payment is the initial money that you pay for a piece of real estate. Most often, down payments are calculated as a percentage of the purchase price of the home.

For example, if you put down \$20,000 on a \$100,000 home, you’ve made a 20% down payment. The typical down ranges between 5% to 20% of a home’s value, although you can put more, and in some cases, less.

Number of years

This slider represents the number of years you’ve owned the home or plan to own the home. Typically, the longer you own your home, the more it will appreciate in value.

Appreciation per year

On the calculator, you can determine a sales price using appreciation per year. Appreciation refers to how the value of a property increases over time. If you are unsure of your home’s appreciation rate, you can use the “Target Sales Price” slider instead.

In general, values go up simply because real estate is in limited supply, and there is almost always a demand. However, exact appreciation rates are influenced by a combination of factors. Location, neighborhood, home size and usable space, age and condition, and general economic indicators all play a role in your home’s appreciation.

Target sales price

The target sales price is the amount of money that you’re hoping to get for your home when it comes time to sell. For the purpose of the calculator, make an educated estimate off the top of your head. However, when it comes time to sell, you’ll want a more concrete value. The following are all ways to get an idea of your sales price.

• Hire an appraiser. Lenders require a professional appraisal for financing, so you might not be a stranger to this process. As a homeowner, you can also request a professional appraiser. The appraiser will consider the property, house, improvements, surrounding market, and comparable properties.
• Obtain a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent. This option won’t be as detailed as hiring a professional appraiser, but asking a real estate agent for comparative market analysis (CMA) can give you a good estimate based on details of the home and the surrounding market.
• Use the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s HPI calculator. The FHFA has a house price calculator to estimate home values. Note that the calculator does NOT project the actual value of any particular house. Instead, it projects what a given house purchased at a point in the time would be worth today if it appreciated the average appreciation rate of surrounding homes.
• Use other online resources. There are numerous estimators available online. A simple Google search will return results for tools from real estate websites that use public records, tax assessments, and algorithms to come up with a home value prediction.

More Calculator Resources

Looking for more tools like this to get your finances in order? Amplify Credit Union offers a wide array of calculators to help you with things like retirement, buying a new house, investments, auto loans, and more!