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Douglas Zeller's Blog

By Douglas Zeller | Broker in El Dorado County, CA

The 'Home Appraisal Betrayal'

The growing gap between a high-end home’s sale price and its appraised value can prompt potential buyers to walk away; those who decide to buy anyway may end up with an unwelcome mortgage surprise. 

To determine the value of a property, appraisers are supposed to review purchase prices of similar, nearby homes that sold in the past six months. But when a property is much pricier than others in the neighborhood, it can be hard to find similar examples close by. As a result, their asking prices are often out of whack with values that are later determined by appraisals.

"The higher you go up the ladder in value generally the less data you have," says Danny Wiley, chief appraiser for LSI, an appraisal-management company based in Irvine, Calif.

To find relevant numbers, appraisers in many cases have been digging up older sales as far back as five years ago, consulting current listing prices that might not reflect what buyers are actually paying for a property and even looking at sales prices in other markets.

Read the full story at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323968304578250051191897928.html?mod=WSJ_3Up_RealEstate 

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