What’s the right way to assess value?

My wife and I are searching for a new home to better accommodate our growing family, and we recently visited one that we really liked.

The house is great. It has 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a finished basement and attic, and a covered garage. It’s really spacious and everything is brand new. The house is located in a hot neighborhood where a few of our friends live. It’s an excellent home for our family.

After leaving the tour, we talked about our thoughts of the house and how we would value it. We looked at the spaciousness, the newness, the covered garage (a rarity for single-family homes in DC) and how our family would fit in.

Basically, we looked at the value of the home in and of itself.

Then we asked our agent to run a comparative market analysis, and we saw a few comparable homes on the same block that sold for a much, much lower price.

Our valuation was immediately altered.

That got me thinking – what’s the right way to value the home, or anything, really?

Do you value the item independent of comps, or do you let comps influence your thinking? Or some combination of both?

I then started pondering about how this can be applied to careers.

For instance, I’m pretty happy with where I am at right now in my career (though not satisfied; more on that in another blog post). I work with people I really like and I’m doing interesting work in the industry of my choice.

But when I compare my career to other people’s, I sometimes feel like a failure.

I see that others make more money. They may have big titles at big companies or have raised a bunch of money for their startup. Or they are younger and have achieved more success than me at my older age.

There’s a danger in comparing, though.

The comparisons may not always be accurate. You’ll never have perfect information. There may be more than meets the eye.

So what’s the right way to value a career, a home, a company, or anything?

Food for thought.

This is day 16 of my experiment to blog for 30 consecutive days.

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