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Appraisal and Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

March 6th, 2016 5:15 PM by Sam Kader

What is an Appraisal?

An appraisal is an estimation of home's market value done by a licensed appraiser using comparable recent sales of a home in the neighborhood. Real estate brokers cannot perform appraisal. Appraisals are ordered on behalf of a home buyer's lender to protect the interest of the lender. The lender's underwriter will compare the appraisal price to the final sales price of the home to ensure the value of the home is equal to or greater than the loan amount. If the home appraised lower than the final sales price, the home buyer may be able to renegotiate a lower price with the seller. If the seller will not lower the price, the buyer's lender may ask that the buyer put more money toward their down payment in order to make the difference or the buyer can walk-away and receive earnest money back.
So in order to set the price of a listing by a buyer and to determine whether that price is at fair market value the respective agents are going to be looking at comparable sales. They will:

  • Look up sales within the past 3 to 6 months in the same building if possible and if not as close as possible to the subject property (usually within 1 mile radius). They will look as close as possible in the neighborhood. If there have been no sales within that period of that direct neighborhood, they will go back further or extend the area. This will be done using Multiple Listing Service sales data which is the most current and accurate.
Compare the sold properties with the subject property:
  1. Amenities such as pool, parking etc.
  2. Size
  3. Location
  4. Upgrades
  5. Adjust the price of the comparable property according to the pluses and minuses of those homes compared with the subject property. For instance, if the comparable property has a swimming pool and the subject property doesn't, then the comparable price will be lowered. The opposite is true if the subject property has the pool.
  6. Check for extenuating circumstances such as a short sale or foreclosure which are hardship sales and unfairly skew the prices. 
  7. Not take into consideration current listings in the area of the subject property that have not been sold yet.

What Is Appraised Value?
Appraisals provide an objective opinion of value but is not an exact science, therefore appraisals may differ.  Appraisals are usually based on market value of what the property could probably be sold for in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby:

  1. Buyer and seller are typically motivated;
  2. Both parties are well informed or well advised and each acting in what he considers his own best interest;
  3. A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market;
  4. Payment is made in terms of cash in U.S. dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and
  5. The price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale.
Other types of value include insurance value, replacement value/cost, and assessed value for tax purposes (please note that all these values differ from one another).

Appraised value is not a constant number. Changes in market conditions can dramatically alter appraised value. Appraised value doesn't take into account special considerations such as distress sales.  Banks usually use either the appraised value of the sale price whichever is less to determine the mortgage they will offer.

An appraisal is based on analyses, opinions and conclusions that were developed and prepared in conformity with the Uniform Standards of Professional Practice that are in effect at the time the report was prepared.  Appraisals are done by disinterested 3rd parties that have no present or prospective interest in the property that is the subject of this report and no personal interest with respect to the parties involved. Depending on what the reason for the CMA it may or may not be performed with possible personal interest such as getting a listing, etc.

What is a Comparative Market Analysis?

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is an evaluation of similar recently sold homes (called comparables), that are within an area close to the home intended to be bought or sold. A Comparative Market Analysis establishes the current market value of the subject home and are prepared by real estate brokers. It is not the same as an appraisal which performed by a licensed appraiser. CMA's are developed without any standards.




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