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As housing recovers, appraisals can still be a challenge

by Bob Strader

August 05, 2013

As the housing market improves some sellers are seeing modest price increases in their communities.

Low inventory has been a large factor in helping to stabilize and increase values in our area. It would then seem reasonable to believe that appraisals will be less of an issue than in the past few years.

The fact is appraisals can be just as challenging in the market recovery as they were when the market was declining.

Prices can be all over the map.

Comparable homes have a wide range of improvements. Some communities that are small might lack a sufficient number of home sales, causing the appraiser to look outside the community for comparable sales.

Luxury home inventory is still high, luxury sales still somewhat soft and homes vary from each other more greatly than homes in lower price ranges.

I can point to two luxury homes sales in same community that vary in square footage by less than 100 square-feet, but their sales prices are $200,000 apart.

The solution? Your Realtor may be the only thing standing between your home appraising at the contract price or appraising low. It's imperative that a listing agent:

Work up independent comparable sales

Calculate adjustments for different features

Outline upgrades and improvements

Meet the appraiser with a detailed report.

There is no guarantee of the final outcome but a listing agent should know far more information about the community and home than any appraiser might have access to.

This Article was published in the Aug. 7 issue of all Appen Media weeklies.