Quite frankly, in this market, I have seen appraisers come in very conservative on their appraisals, because all that is needed to make the deal happen is to come in at the purchase price. However, a review of the properties they used as a basis for their appraisal may reveal that these homes are not as comparable as they seem. Although, a comparable home the appraiser chose may be in the same city, it may not be in as desirable an area as the one you are buying. Many communities, including Hawthorne, have some areas that are much more desirable that others and they are just a few blocks away from each other, yet still be on the "wrong side of the tracks." Also appraisers are comparing homes based on data and driving by the comparable homes sold that in most cases are occupied, therefore the appraisers probably do not see these homes inside. The interior of the home can tell the real story of why the property sold for the price it did, such as poor design layout, bizarre taste in kitchen and bathroom, etc...
Consult your agent for a list of homes that have recently closed in the area you are purchasing. As an active agent in the area, they could give you feedback as to the condition of these homes and how they compare to yours. Then take a drive around and see these properties for yourself.
Good luck with your new home!
Arlene Garcia Hanner, Broker
One way to understand this is to realize that when a bank orders an appraisal of a property they are in effect asking for a risk assessment. The bank wants to know if investing in this home, and you, is a good risk.
An appraiser only needs to show documentation to the bank that the home is worth what you are willing to pay for it.
A homeowner who pays for an appraisal on his own would probably get a more carefully prepared appraisal.
I hope that helps.