@Annette Lawrence, it sounds like things are done a little differently in Florida than California. Appraisals are ordered by the lending institution only after a signed contract is in place. The buyer cannot supply the appraisal.
Try as we may, and we deal with this issue daily, we cannot determine the value with extreme accuracy regardless of the data at hand, and we have plenty of it. Case in point:, I recently listed a home for sale at $369K. We got severl offers. 4 of them over asking price. The seller accepted offer at $376K with a back up offer behind it. It appraised at $376K.
The deal fell through and the seller went to the back up. Less than 10 days after being appraised at $376,000, the new appraisal came in at $365,000!
Remmember, we had 4 people willing to beat the list price of $369,000.
The buyer had an appraisal contingency but the seller refused to sell that low. The buyer came up with another $8000 in cash and the seller came down $3000 to close the deal at $373K.
The real problem is not in determining the value. The buyers are doing that. The problem is what to do when the appraisal comes in below what the buyer is offering. This is why some sellers are writing counter offers demanding that the appraisal contingency be waived or going for other creative solutions.
I just got an offer on a property for $145,000. The agent wrote a clause stating that 'in the event the property appraises for less than $145,000, the buyer will pay up to $6000 over appraised value to a maximum of $145,000'. That's the way things are going here.
@Lance King, take a look at our stats for Folsom: Inventory down 68% from last year. In April, 95 units were sold and 109 went pending. As of this moment there are 87 homes on the market. This is why people are waiving or adjusting their appraisal contingencies. I would not recommend waiving it altogether, but I've sold 3 in the past month or so where the buyers paid above appraised value because to them, the properties were worth more than the appraiser's opinion was.