Understanding the Difference Between an Appraisal vs Neighborhood Listing Prices

Why is there such a difference between what my appraised value is and the price similar homes are selling for on my street?

It’s a great question, and you don’t have to be a mortgage professional or a real estate agent to understand the answer.

The distinction lies in the purpose of the two valuations and who is responsible for creating them.

Appraisals:

The purpose of an appraisal is to make sure that an independent non-interested third party verifies the “most likely” sale price based on the market value and condition of the home.

Appraisals are meant to be a realistic determination of the value of a home if it were to sell in the current market, in its current condition.

In addition, appraisers are governed by rules intended to standardize the subjective process of determining a home’s value.

Some of the key factors appraisers look at are: location, above ground size, room count, bathroom count, style of home, condition of property, amenities, and market conditions such as how long it takes for home to sell and if values are increasing, decreasing or steady.

Appraisers are also asked to look only at comparable sales within a certain distance, usually one mile except in rural areas, and within a specified period of time, which is 3 months in the current market.

Listing Prices:

Listing prices on the other hand are influenced by the real estate agent, and set by interested and often emotional sellers.

Sellers are not held by any rules when they list a home. In some cases, sellers take what they paid for the house, add what they have spent on improvements and even add amount for profit.

Often times, sellers will list their home based on the amount needed to pay for the real estate agent, closing costs and cover the amount of the mortgages.

Extra low prices are generally the result of an extra motivated seller that has to sell and move in a rush, so they’ll list their property below market comps in order to be the most competitive.

Throw in bank owned homes (foreclosed properties), and listing prices may be all over the place without a logical explanation due to an asset manager making decisions from another part of the country.

The Verdict:

While list price is never a good indication of what a home in your neighborhood is worth, appraisals are not an exact science that will determine the true value of your home either.

Some will argue that a home is worth what people will pay for it, so there’s obviously a little room for personal interpretation.  Either way, the bank securing that piece of real estate for a mortgage loan generally always has the final opinion that matters the most.

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March 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

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About Carolyn

To give you a little bit about myself I am a veteran of the Real Estate profession. I have been in the mortgage industry for over 20 years, been a licensed Real Estate Professional and am a home owner myself. I have a true understanding of all sides of a purchase transaction and know the importance of communication to all parties to make the deal close. I started my financial career in Seattle with Washington Mutual back in 1991 and have continued to grow in the industry through various aspects of the business. I have had the honor of being on Congressman Bill Posey's Financial Roundtable in 2010 and in 2011. I have been an Underwriter, processor as well as a Mortgage Loan Originator. At Certified Mortgage Planners we have the unique ability to broker our loans as well as a direct lend. What this means for you is we have multiple options to choose from and are a full service lender which allows us to help our clients fit in the best possible financing . My greatest satisfaction in my career is helping people in our community achieve homeownership, whether it is their 1st home, their last home or investment and helping my Realtor partners achieve there goals. What is also important to me is treating people fairly and ethically. I work with people in all price ranges and no matter what the objective is and will be there from start to finish. I feel truly blessed to be a part of such a great business and enjoy the challenges that it sometimes brings.

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