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For buyers who simply want a home in which to raise their pets, plants and kids, these are tough times. They’re made harder by low interest rates, tight housing inventory and pandemic-driven desires for more rooms inside and more space outside. All this is further complicated by an unprecedented number of cash buyers flooding many markets. Still, residential real estate can be a great investment, particularly if you’re in it for the long run — and you can handle the mortgage debt and maintenance you take on.

If you’re throwing your hat into the housing ring, it’s helpful to have a relatively easy way to determine whether the price of a home — and, ultimately, your offer — makes sense.