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 Lester

In 1973, I graduated high school and started college. In 1977, I met and married my wife Deborah of 40 years, put on a suit and tie, and went to work for Prudential Insurance Company. In 1979, my wife was offered a great job as an advertising executive for a San Jose television station, so we moved from the Monterey Bay area to San Jose, CA. I needed a new job in San Jose and I didn’t really want to start from scratch with a new insurance office. While going to college, I had managed a Travelodge, and it was that management experience that landed my new job and started my career in real estate as a property manager. In 1980, I completed my first certification course with the National Apartment Management Accreditation Board (NAA), and in 1983, I earned my Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) designation which I keep current today. In 1984, my daughter Pearl was born, and in 1987, my son Max was born. When I was managing rental properties, many of my tenants wanted to become homeowners, so in 1988, I got my real estate sales license with the California Department of Real Estate to help them with that goal. As a new Realtor, I found that obtaining financing is the first and most important step to shopping for a home, so in 1989, I completed my first of many programs in real estate finance and loan officer training. In 2000, I stopped doing property management and real estate sales altogether, to concentrate on mortgage loan origination exclusively with Coast Capital Mortgage. In 2004, I moved from Coast Capital Mortgage to join First Priority Financial. In 2014, First Priority Financial changed its business model from mortgage brokerage and banking to just mortgage banking. To better serve my clients and stay a competitive mortgage broker, I joined C2 Financial Corporation. How many people can truly say that they love the company that they work for? I can! ◾C2 Financial Corporation is a mortgage brokerage and a banker. ◾They are A rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau. ◾Members of National Association of Mortgage Brokers ◾FHA and VA approved. ◾Managed by principals with over 62 years experience in the mortgage industry. ◾Partners with the largest banks in the U.S. ◾One of Scotsman’s Guide Top Mortgage Originators of 2012 and 2013. I’m a lucky guy that loves my job and the people that I work with. Every day borrowers entrust me with one of the most important financial decisions of their life and I don’t take that responsibility lightly. I do what is best for my clients and know that by doing so I’m not only doing what is morally and ethically right, this belief system will result in my borrowers referring me additional clients, which is the best long-term business model. So far so good!

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