We are experiencing somewhat of a seller’s market in Sacramento, and a changing climate, as value’s are starting to rise across the country. With this added demand, comes multiple offers which can drive up the purchase price of a home – sometimes artificially. We know that too many buyers are chasing too few sellers, and reaching a sales agreement can be just the start of the negotiation process. One particular negotiation point which can present difficulties for both buyers and sellers is when a home’s appraised value falls short of its contracted sales price.
Sometimes, this happens because the home’s price was inflated. Other times, it’s the result of a faulty appraisal. Or, everyone knows the home won’t appraise, but the market is heating up and the seller feels they deserve what “the market will bear”, and don’t care what the appraisal says.
As a home seller, there are some common appraisal problems of which you should be aware. Here are some of them, and how to seek remedy so that the home sale process remains smooth.
An appraiser will assign your home’s value based on comparable properties and recent sale prices. However, some homes — notably those in foreclosure; sold via short sale; or which were abandoned — sell at a discount as compared to non-distressed properties. An appraiser may want to ignore these types of comparable homes, or make proper valuation adjustments.
Ignored market conditions
The housing market can improve quickly as we’ve seen in some U.S. markets since 2011. Appraisers, though, may not consider a local market’s demand and its rapidly rising prices — especially after the recent downturn from last decade. If an appraiser is not taking into account such information as multiple offer situations, low local inventory, and days on market, your home’s appraised valuation may be affected.
Slow turn-around time
Appraisers run under strict time guidelines. When an appraisal takes more time than usual, therefore, it’s often the result of the appraiser’s uncertainty on the home’s value. This is a common scenario for unique homes for which comparable properties are scarce. It can also be the case for when an appraiser is unfamiliar with your area. If an appraisal takes an inordinate amount of time to complete, consider asking your REALTOR® to check the figures.
To err is human and appraisers make mistakes occasionally. How you handle those mistakes as a seller or a buyer can be the difference between a sold home and a canceled contract.
As a buyer, the agent and lender you choose to work with is equally important. Click here for a nice article from a good friend of mine who understands the Sacramento market better than most. The key is to work with folks that have the knowledge and experience working with low appraisals, different types of markets, and understand there are many ways to work through a solution.