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Real Estate Appraisal ?

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How does someone get an honest, unbiased evaluation of a property ? It seems that Realtors will skew their results on the high side in order to get a listing with the hope of a larger commision. Do independant appraisers, from a bank or an insurance company, really do anything differently from a Realtor that will result in a more balanced outcome ? Is a paid-for, independant appraisal really worth the fees ?
A friend is trying to buy out the house from her ex-husband, but they are tens of thousands of dollars apart. Two different Realtors appraisals favored the lower-to-mid range but were themselves quite a bit apart. This has been going on for some time, way before this current economic mess we're in. A call to an independant appraiser was shocking in that she punched up Zillo.com ? while on the phone and used that as a basis for her evaluation.
I suspect that now, with the current economic situation, that the original appraisals might be optimistic. IMHO, from being in the building trades for over twenty-five years, there are so many things wrong /in need of attention with the house that even the lower appraisals seem too high, although it is in an excellent location ( which is why my friend would like to try to stay there )The Realtors all tell her to spend the money to do all the repairs and then list it high, but that isn't an option. Any thoughts ?
 
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Spend the $300 or so and get a certified appriaser. Zillow is not accurate in some parts of the country for comps due to the fluctuations in pricing. Here in CA a licensed, certified appraiser is required, for loans, refi, etc.. don't know how things are in CT, perhaps they are the same.
 
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At this time and going forward home apraisals will be much more realistic and based on comps,meaning real sale prices within 6 mo.Part of the housing mess was high apraisal values to justify the wacky loan to value ratio.
 

HTN

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FL.
How does someone get an honest, unbiased evaluation of a property ? It seems that Realtors will skew their results on the high side in order to get a listing with the hope of a larger commision. Do independant appraisers, from a bank or an insurance company, really do anything differently from a Realtor that will result in a more balanced outcome ? Is a paid-for, independant appraisal really worth the fees ?
A friend is trying to buy out the house from her ex-husband, but they are tens of thousands of dollars apart. Two different Realtors appraisals favored the lower-to-mid range but were themselves quite a bit apart. This has been going on for some time, way before this current economic mess we're in. A call to an independant appraiser was shocking in that she punched up Zillo.com ? while on the phone and used that as a basis for her evaluation.
I suspect that now, with the current economic situation, that the original appraisals might be optimistic. IMHO, from being in the building trades for over twenty-five years, there are so many things wrong /in need of attention with the house that even the lower appraisals seem too high, although it is in an excellent location ( which is why my friend would like to try to stay there )The Realtors all tell her to spend the money to do all the repairs and then list it high, but that isn't an option. Any thoughts ?

Keep in mind that a Realtor's job is to get the most for his/her principal. A difference of $10K will not make a dent in the comm. Realtors can only perform a CMA (Comparable Market Analyses). Only a license Appraiser can perform an appraisal. The Appraiser’s job is to find comps and follow the guidelines set forth from the state in which they are practicing. An Appraiser’s final appraised value is only an opinion of 1 individual. The Lender then can request an appraisal review by another appraiser if they feel that the price is not adequate. Zillow is a joke. Pricing is much more realistic today is because Lenders are asking for more reviews, thus keeping the Appraisers on their toes.
The market is saturated with inventories from Foreclosures to Short Sales which bring down the comp values.
As to fix up and ask for higher price, just be careful with not dumping too much money into it.
In today’s market… Aggressive pricings will sell quicker. Good luck.
 
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I refinanced my house this morning with Bank of America and was shocked at the amount, $550k became $420k real quick:frown: I was curious, are these appraisers scared and cutting the amount's short, or are these realistic of market conditions:confused:
 
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Seems that banks are wanting home owners to have a greater equity stake in thier homes,makes sense.Banks are even reducing home values less than the apraised number.We are talking about bank/loan apraisals here not a realtor/owner estimate of value.Kieth in NE Pa apraisal fees are 300$.You need to talk to the local chamber of comerce to ask for names who do the most local bank apraisals.
 
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At this time and going forward home apraisals will be much more realistic and based on comps,meaning real sale prices within 6 mo.Part of the housing mess was high apraisal values to justify the wacky loan to value ratio.

Appraisals are always based on comps. The problem is that appraisers are given a lot of leeway to cherry pick comps to suit the needs of the parties involved (loan officers, realtors, etc.) It should be the appraiser's job to carefully inspect the immediate area and market conditions but they rarely do that. Appraisals are very mathematical in nature and there are a lot of intangibles that drastically affect value which can be embellished or ignored completely.

IMO the most accurate determination of value is what's called a broker price opinion (BPO). This consists of an experienced real estate broker very familiar with the immediate area with no relation to any party who is hired to prepare an analysis of what price they would list the property if they expected it to sell within a normal market time. If the broker is commissioned by a third party the urge to fluff up the value to try and appeal to the seller isn't a factor (many realtors exaggerate what they will be able to sell a home for in order to persuade a seller to give them the listing over another realtor.) Since the broker isn't dealing directly with the seller and has no opportunity to get a listing they tend to call it like they see it.

Since a BPO is a non-mathematical-based approach and since there's no "recourse" against an inaccurate BPO and no official qualifications other than being a real estate broker BPOs are generally considered inferior and inaccurate by lenders but in my experience that is far from the truth. Between all the appraisals I have seen and all the BPOs I have seen in over 10 years in real estate a diligently performed BPO has been the more accurate method for determining what someone would be willing to pay for any given property at any given time.

I have literally seen two appraisals come in and pass a lender's review at 1.7 million and have a BPO on the same home come in at 1.4 million. The realistic value in fact was around 1.4 million since I sold the home a year prior and I was familiar with the area. This illustrates how appraisals can be manipulated.
 

HTN

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I refinanced my house this morning with Bank of America and was shocked at the amount, $550k became $420k real quick:frown: I was curious, are these appraisers scared and cutting the amount's short, or are these realistic of market conditions:confused:

A bit of both.
 
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