Why are appraisers hesistant to give a good appraisal, when the house is really worth the money?.?

Asked by blackstockhomeowner, Cumming, GA Tue Sep 4, 2012

I own a house in BlackStock Mill in Cumming , and refinancing my mortgage.. the appraiser has used foreclosed homes in other communities as comparable homes and gave a appraisal of 265k for single family with unfinished basement with 5 bed and 3 bath and 2900 sft. Is the appraiser accurate?

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Hank Miller, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Really? So an appraisal isn't "good" because the value you want wasn't obtained? Fascinating logic. The data I see doesn't support 265K.

Closed sales in Blackstock over the last year ranged from 145-280 with a median of 232K. Three basement sales - 11/11 @ 280K with a finished basement incl a BR/B/FR and 9/11 @ 245.4K with a partially finished basement. 2/12 saw a sale for 264.5K and oh yeah - it was NEW.

The data is also pretty clear that this community has nosedived in value. As for foreclosures, those are common in this market, they will be used if they are comparable - and many are. I'm a foreclosure appraiser and I see many of these homes getting paint, carpets, appliances, etc so they can complete with the existing inventory.

So after review of the data, I agree with this not being a "good" appraisal. The idea that this home is "worth" 265K with an unfinished basement in an area with foreclosure inventory and new homes still around seems unrealistically HIGH. I'd love to see something tangible to support this or even a higher price - it won't be found.



2 votes
Hank Miller, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Annette - as always, I agree with the majority of what you say but again, the last line negates the valid points you make. If the data doesn't support what this owner "thinks" then how is the bank influencing this?

The market tanked because of irresponsible lending and owners that could care less. The damage has been done, values are what they are based upon the current data.

What's supposed to happen, press restart and erase the last 10 years?
1 vote
Hank Miller, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Mon Nov 5, 2012
So since this post, one other sale occured - at 205K. It's not a basement home but is indicative of the downward value slope of this area.

Case-Shiller is far far too broad to use for anything local and Robert Shiller is far from sold on any "recovery". The bottom line is that many don't like appraised values, there's nothing that can be done if the data is there. Cost does not equal value - opinions do not equal value.

If you think it's challenging now, wait until spring - http://hankmillerteam.com/2012/10/24/looking-ahead-to-the-sp…
Web Reference:  http://www.hmtatlanta.com
0 votes
Melinda Rain…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Mon Nov 5, 2012
Appraiser's can use any homes that have sold under any circumstances. A sold home is a sold home even it was foreclosure or short sale. Appraisal values are simply based on homes sold that are closest in location, home size, & home features, etc. Neighborhood's make it easier to find comparables that match the subject property. Unfortunately, this type of problem has been going on since the market started taking a down turn in 2005. But the market is turning around! Pricing in our area is up 12% over the past 6 months according to Case & Shiller, (a respected, conservative reporter of market trends).
0 votes
Ken D'Ademo, Agent, Milford, CT
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Hi Blackstock Mill Homeowner,
I am not an appraiser but looking at your question and with the information you provided, I would say the appraisal is accurate. It seems your appraisal came in above the average sold price when comparing to other homes sold in your neighborhood. I'm an optimist, Here's what I found:
There has been one sale in your neighborhood in the past 90 days and there are two homes on the market. The home that sold was a 3450 sq.ft, 5 BR, 3 BA, home on slab. It sold for $248,699 or $72.00 per sq. ft. There are two other homes for sale in your neighborhood but appraisers and REALTOR's cannot factor those homes into the appraisal or Comparative Market Analysis until they sell. Appraisers and REALTOR's Compable Market Analysis are based on homes sold. But for this excercise I'll list them here for you just for your information. Those two homes have a listed price as follows:
1. 2761 Sq ft. 6 BR, 5 BA Full finished basement listed for $399,900 or $144.00 per sq. ft
2. 2513 Sq. Ft. 4BR, 2.5 BA Full unfinished basement listed for $275,000 or $109.00 per sq. ft.
(These homes are way overpriced)

Your appraisal came in at $265,000 or $91.00 per sq. ft. There have been a total of five homes sold in Blackstock Mill since 3/30/12. None of these homes sold for more than $248,699. The highest price per sq. ft. sold was $86.00 per Sq. Ft. Looking outside of your neighborhood, homes that sold in the past 90 days sold for an average price per sq. ft of $106.67 per sq. ft.. There was one foreclosure included in that average, and it sold for $116.00 per sq. ft.

Your home appraised higher than any other recently sold home in your neighborhood. There are formulas that take foreclosures, ammenities, condition, location etc. into consideration that appraisers use to place value on a property. They don't always go on comparables but may factor in replacement cost too. The neigh sayers will say that we are still in a declining market, but I believe that the market has bottomed and is in recovery. Last year homes in my area, in Cumming, sold for an average of $72.00 per sq. ft. this year over the same period the average sold price per sq. ft. is $86.16. That does not appear to be declining market. Will there be more foreclosures? Yes, but I don't believe it will be what we have seen in the past couple of years. Will the market decline or appreciate? No one has the crystal ball, but looking at the historical data it appears we are in the infancy stages of recovery.
Rest easy, as you can see, your appraisal seems to be great for a re-fi, but word of caution, if you are thinking of selling it, it may not sell for that price, and another appraiser may not appraise it that high. If you are just doing a re-fi to reduce cost, go for it, if you are looking to take equity out, it is NOT a good idea until there is more recovery time.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Ken D'Ademo, Associate Broker
Keller Williams Chattahoochee North
0 votes
Deryk Harper, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Hank is spot on with his opinion...as usual. Not much to add here except that, imho, we still have another downleg coming in home prices before we see a bottom. If you filter though most of the PR spin and just look at the real numbers most professionals in this industry would have to agree. What say you Hank? Lee?
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Tue Sep 4, 2012
So, you have encountered the 'Bank Fix' in the appraisal process. Of course appraisers are recognized as being independent of the banking system but the reality is quite different. If the bank does not like the appraisal they receive there are ramifications the appraiser will have to deal with.... economicly. The bank paying for the appraisal dictates what are comps and what is not. If you've ever heard of selection bias, what you describe is what it looks like.

Now, it has been my observation that middle class America has not yet come to terms with the reality the banks have truly stolen 40% of their wealth. That means your real estate has lost 40% of it''s value in the past 8 years. That means that 1.4 million dollar waterfront is now down to 1 Million!

The bank's imposed rules placed on the appraisal companies will insure the values stay low. If your home is worth the amount you state AND you can substantiate the value, then a buyer will be willing to come to the closing with a pile of cash. I've done it many times. Homes ARE worth more than many appraisals indicate. The home owner now must choose. Kick the deal to the curb, counter, get appraisal contingency waived, or take the hit.

Just wait till the 'too big to fail' health insurance companies arrive, they'll make the big banks look like sand box toddlers.

The true value of a home is what a willing buyer and willing seller will pay. That's what we've always heard, but as you are experiencing, and others are agreeing...it is worth what the bank says its worth.....and so many agree.

And none of the culprits went to jail!
0 votes
Katherine Mo…, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Also remember that we are in a market that has been declining for the last 4 years. Even though there are recent signs of prices starting to stabilize in some pockets of the market, an appraisal is a snapshot of the last 6 months...and it's not been pretty. This is going to be a problem for the next few years (assuming a recovery), as the comparables will be lower in a market with increasing values.

Additionally, the banks are looking for reasons not to lend or refinance, in my opinion, and they are going to err on the low side in values. The days of easy money are behind us, especially if there is little equity in the property.

Katherine L. Morrison, Realtor
Team Realty Group
Alpharetta, GA
404-697-4626 direct
0 votes
Rick Beelen, Agent, Roswell, GA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
That question is hard to answer without knowing all the criteria of your home to do a fair compairison. What I will tell you that a lot of appraisers come from different counties and they may not be as familiar with the area. I am not sure where your appriaser lives and what county his experiance lies, but we do see this happening.

Rick Beelen
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
At the start of all these Foreclosures, we were forced to use NORMAL sales when evaluating Foreclosures:
That exacerbated the problems.

In many areas, Foreclosures account for 70-80% of the market; they cannot be ignored.

Are Appraisers expected to pick a number out of the air, that you wish the house was worth?
YOU are not a factor here!
The Bank is the factor: they want their investment to be secure.

Who determines what a car, a TV or a House is WORTH?
YOU do, when you shell out your money for it.
What YOUR house is worth to you, is different than what it is worth to a Buyer.
The APPRAISAL is the most accuate opinion of a Home's Worth.
0 votes
, ,
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Real estate appraisals are based on the current market value of a property. To determine that value, the appraisers must use like home that have sold and closed in the last 90 days. Comps up to12 months old can be used if new more recent sales exist.

When you are located in a subdivision, at least 1-2 of the comps should be from there.

If you were selling your home today, those foreclosures would in fact be your direct competition. Therefore, they cannot be excluded in your report.

Rodney Mason, NMLS #151088
Sr Loan Officer
Prospect Mortgage
825 Juniper St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Office: (404) 591-2453
Apply Online at http://www.rodneymason.com
Licensed in Alabama & Georgia

Prospect Mortgage offers a full selection of mortgage programs including:
Conventional | FHA | FHA 580-639 FICO | FHA 203K Renovation (Streamline & Consultant) | HomePath® | HomePath® Renovation | HomeStyle® Renovation | VA | USDA | GA Dream | Jumbo Financing
0 votes
Lee Taylor, Agent, Decatur, GA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Hank Miller needs to weigh in here. I will summon him.

Accurate? Of course they are accurate.

Subective? You better believe it.


If you expect your version of fair to be the version of fair that your lender chooses, then you truly have another thing coming...
0 votes
Lori Warden, Agent, Suwanee, GA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Because of so many foreclosures the appraisers are forced to use some. They usually throw
out the lowest and highest. Are there no comps in your neighborhood, within the last 6 months?
0 votes
Erica Stone, , Cumming, GA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
These foreclosures are really killing all of our values. The market looks like it is picking up though.
0 votes
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