I can answer this since I'm both.
A single family appraisal is $275-$300 right now. A 2-4 family is typically $400-$500. A relocation appraisal is typically $500.
And, I have to disagree with Elvis on this one. Appraisal is ALL about market value. You are far better off with an appraisal than a CMA. It is unbiased and objective. It is also far more in depth, and is a real value. Unfortunately most CMA's done by real estate agents have an agenda. To get the listing. There are some excellent agents who "tell it like it is", but with so many new and inexperienced agents in the workforce, the vast majority of "free CMA"s are worth what they cost. Let's face it, with many sellers, if you give them a true value, you can kiss the listing goodbye. So there is pressure on Realtors, especially new ones, or financially strapped ones, to come up with a "feel-good" value to get the listing.
I don't mean this as an insult to my fellow agents, I'm just being honest. And yes, there are experienced agents who know their areas like the back of their hand, who don't inflate to get the listing, and whose opinions are as good as that of a trained appraiser, maybe even better. But these are standout agents who have been in the business for a long time and have a lot of integrity. You have to remember, it only takes a few weeks to get a real estate license. There is no way an agent who has been in the business for 2 years or less is going to produce a CMA that I would have any faith in. Yet due to the extremely high turnover in our field, the typical agent is fairly new.
Finally, if your dealing with any important matter that could involve litigation, a CMA is utterly worthless. An appraisal by a licensed appraiser is mandatory in this arena.
the $315,000 appraisal came from offer #1, who DID back out of the deal, when they heard the appraisal. I tried to reason with the appraiser who came from 35 miles away, but to no avail.
we then accepted offer #2, who's appraiser was more local, and appraised the home @ $400,000 (in my opinion, just about right, and consistent with my comps), that buyer went forward, and we closed last week.
It seems that you are looking for someone to be able to tell you a firm number. But, the fact is.......we don't make the market. A Realtor can prepare a CMA, and an appraiser can prepare an appraisal. Nothing, not Zillow's report, the Realtor CMA, or the appraiser's opinon of value determine what a buyer will pay.
The market sets value as a result of the collective activity of all buyers and sellers who are currenty make the market. And, markets are always in flux. There is no magic pill. I wish there were......but there is not.
You can put your property out for sale, but if the exposure is limited, the response is not a true read of the market. Only with true market exposure can you hear what the market says back to you.
When the appraisal is done first, without a contract in hand, I see a wider variation between the contract price and the appraisal figure. I have also seen appraisals done by more than one appraiser and seen a range of $30,000.
The truest testament to market value is when a property is given aggressive exposure to the market and buyers vote (or don't) with their dollars. An appraisal is an opinion of value. A buyers voting dollars, when it is an arm's length transaction in an open market, is a statment of actual value. As the stats for actual value are recorded, markets trend up or down.
Appraisers are given a copy of the contract when they come to appraise a property for a lender. There are times when the appraisal may not come in high enough to support the purchase price, but it doesn't happen often.
I just had an appraisal on a 4-bedroom, 3-bath split level home in Skokie (nearby suburb) totally rehabbed, new granite/ss kitchen, 3 new granite/marble baths... and the appraisal came in at $315,000. I just sold the house for $385,000.
Now, when that happens here, if there is a bank involved and they buyer is borrowing 80%, there's a problem. Even with a cash buyer, which we frequently have here, I've had buyers who offered that much over the price of the appraisal (which many cash buyers do have done) back out or renegotiate.
I offered him the comps that I had and their explanations, but he wasn't interested in hearing them. (which I can understand... nobody likes to be told how to do their job).
Honestly, for $315,000 I would have written him a check myself.
btw... interesting side point, when the final buyer's bank's appraisal came in.... $400,000!!! surprise!
Nonetheless, if the appraiser says $315,000, he must have comparables that show it. He may be wrong, but probably not. I can't describe to you the voracious hellfires that swirl about us when we appraise a house too low and a deal implodes. Think NazgÃ»l from Lord of the Rings. We get it from every direction.
By the way, just because a willing buyer and seller meet on a price does not mean that it reflects the market at large. Buyers DO overpay, sometimes drastically. A home purchase can be like a wedding day, lots of emotion, absence of reason.
how about I concede that a "good" appraisal can be an excellent representation of market value, just as I think you'd agree that a good CMA from a good agent can be just as accurate.
Unfortunately, most of the appraisals I've seen done, at least in my area, have also had their own agenda, depending on who hired them and what they're trying to appraise for.
I'll give you a living example. I just had an appraisal on a 4-bedroom, 3-bath split level home in Skokie (nearby suburb) totally rehabbed, new granite/ss kitchen, 3 new granite/marble baths... and the appraisal came in at $315,000. I just sold the house for $385,000. Those trulia agents who work in Skokie will tell you that $315,000 for a 4/3 in rehabbed condition in Skokie is waaay underpriced.
So one of us is wrong, but since I actually found a buyer willing to pay, and a seller willing to sell... I think I've achieved the definition of market value.
Generally, offering a fair price and standing firm is the best approach. However, some people like to negotiate and no strategy works in all cases. That is the benefit of using a good Realtor.
Best of Luck!
Mid Jersey Inspections
NJ Home Inspector Lic. #076900
Unfortunately, market value can be somewhat subjective, and is not an exact science.
"The Real Estate Doctor"