A question about comps

Asked by Kara, North Haven, CT Wed Mar 6, 2013

We're having an appraisal to determine the current value of our home for a refinance. Much of the advice I've been reading has told us to research our own comps so we have an idea of how the appraisal will come back. The online tools I've been using have been comparing recent sales in my area of homes built around the same year as mine. This is where my question comes in. We gutted this house down to the studs and updated every single thing inside and out. So, simply comparing this home to other 1950's homes doesn't seem accurate (or fair) to me at all. Does a Realtor take this into account when looking for comps? Or do they just stick with the year built when searching for comparable home sales?

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Anna Buono, Agent, Wallingford, CT
Wed Mar 6, 2013
Hi Kara- it's definitely more than just the age if a home and size that go into an appraisal or a realtors market analysis. It can be really confusing... Feel free to contact me directly if you have more specific questions . I live in north haven and would be happy to even come by to help you out. I've done so for many people who are looking to refinance. And no worries- there is no charge for a market analysis ;)
1 vote
Steven Miller…, Agent, Branford, CT
Wed Mar 6, 2013

In order to compare pricing on a house you would need to compare like kind and quality. In my evaluation I always look at the actual age as well as the effective age of a property. The effective age takes into account the upgrades you have done.

Also, I would ask a couple of Realtors for a market analysis rather before calling in an appraiser. It may answer your questions without costs to you.

If I can be of any assistance please call me at 203-248-8086.

1 vote
Cory La Scala, Agent, San Diego, CA
Wed Mar 6, 2013
Hi Kara,

Agents and appraisers don't use online tools, and we look at a lot of variables. A comp isn't a comp just because it has a similar build date and square footage; there's more to it than that.

I hoped your refi goes well!

1 vote
David Popoff, Agent, Darien, CT
Wed Mar 6, 2013
Type up a list of all the improvements you did
The year of improvements
And the cost of improvements.

Hand it over to the appraiser (Realtor, buyer,etc) with you contact information and home address on it.

This will help the appraiser value the home. The ore information you give the better.
1 vote
Minna Reid, Agent, Trumbull, CT
Wed Mar 6, 2013
There is quite a bit more than year built when picking comps...I like to stay a 10 year range, within .5 - 1 mile proximity, active, pending or sold in last 6 months...similar in condition, square foot, lot size, bedrooms and baths, style etc, etc...as much as possible. Obviously in rural areas or with unusual properties you have to expand that criteria.
North Haven is pretty densely populated and there are a lot of homes in the same age range of yours in the area. I would think it would not be terrible difficult to find other 50's ( or so) homes in your general vicinity that have also been fully updated.
You can spend hours putting a good comp together...its not a simple process to accurately value a home.
However - just because your home has been fully updated, I would not use new homes as comps and neither would an appraiser ( most likely) ...
Web Reference:  http://www.homesbyminna.com
1 vote
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Wed Mar 6, 2013
How an Appraisal is made:
Visualize a series of COLUMNS, probably 4 or 5;
The First Column is the SUBJECT HOUSE and the others are COMP's.
Down the page we list FEATURES or FACTORS; such as # Bedrooms, # Baths, House Sqft, Lot Sqft, Fireplace, Pool, Roof, Garage, Fencing. Got it?
Now, in each box created, there will be a VALUE: Lets say the subject house is 915 sqft it would get --- or 0. And the first Comp house has 2500 sqft, it might get -100,000; which means that the house is WORTH $100,000 more because of the square-footage. (It is a negative number because the Selling price of that Comp house was approximately $100,000 more BECAUSE of the square footage and we have to deduct that $100,000 to bring them to equity.) Got it?

Now, lets say that the Subject house has $5,000 worth of new fencing and the Comp house has 25 year old OK fencing.: Then the SUBJECT house would get +5,000 and the Comp. house would get --- or 0.

When you go down the page, and enter everything, you get total Comparative Values on the two houses, which allows for the DIFFERENCES.

The two houses DO NOT have to be literally COMPARABLE, they MAKE then comparable with the VALUES.

So the house next door is larger, so what? They made up for that with the values.

Now, if you understand what I just did, then you will understand why;
1.) Two Appraisals can come so close together, and,
2.) Why the Bank will not listen to you about the results.

and in fact I will give you a third;

3.) If you hire your own Appraiser, he will end up with about the same numbers!

Also, please do not compare/equate the ASSESSMENT with the APPRAISAL: The ASSESSMENT is based on the LAST SELLING PRICE OF THE PROPERTY which might be last year. five years ago, or thirty years ago.

I hope I've helped.

Good luck and may God bless
1 vote
Excellent answer!
Flag Fri Aug 16, 2013
Diana Hellman, Agent, Larchmont, NY
Tue Jul 22, 2014
A realtor generally knows the homes used in the CMA and they definitely get I added information by researching in their local mls sites, so they know which houses need work and which homes are in mint condition. A realtor compares those homes sold within 6 months or less, ideally with respect to similar location, size and condition. Your renovations would definitely be part of the equation when determining the value.
0 votes
Donna Richo, Agent, East Haven, CT
Tue Jul 22, 2014
This is my biggest complain about online Estimates such as Zestimate by Zillow. Your much compare apples to apples.
There are many factors to take into account when valuing a property. Clearly a home that has been updated will sell at a higher price than one that has not. New windows, roof, furnace, all increase the value of a home.
0 votes
Amy Salvati, Home Buyer, North Haven, CT
Thu Nov 14, 2013
Hi Kara

As a former appraiser, I adjust the estimated selling price in accordance with the appearance and improvements as well as those properties built at the same time and with the same no. of rooms, bedrooms, baths and square footage. Please call me if you need a market analysis.

Amy Salvati
0 votes
Kara, Home Buyer, North Haven, CT
Thu Mar 7, 2013
Thanks to everyone who responded. It was very helpful and very appreciated!
0 votes
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