What To Do When Your Issaquah Home Doesn't Appraise

issaquah-appraisalsHome sellers in Issaquah know that reaching a sales agreement with a potential buyer can be just the start of the negotiation process. Beyond price, there are quite often inspection issues to resolve, among other terms in the contract.

One particular negotiation point which can sometimes present difficulties for both buyers and sellers is when a home's appraised value falls short of its contracted sales price. This can be a particular hazard in a situation with multiple offers, with buyers pushing the price so high, that the home simply won't meet appraisal. This questionable strategy is called "Writing to Win" - and it can throw a nasty curve ball to the seller - even if the buyer is paying cash.

Generally though, as a home seller, there are some common appraisal problems of which you should be aware. Here are some of them, and how to seek remedy so that the home sale process remains smooth.

Inaccurate Comparisons

An appraiser will assign your home's value based on comparable properties and recent sale prices. However, some homes -- notably those in foreclosure; sold via short sale; or which were abandoned -- sell at a discount as compared to non-distressed properties. An appraiser may want to ignore these types of comparable homes, or make proper valuation adjustments.

Ignored Market Conditions

The housing market can improve quickly as we've seen in some U.S. markets since 2011. Appraisers, though, may not consider a local market's demand and its rapidly rising prices -- especially after the recent downturn from last decade. If an appraiser is not taking into account such information as multiple offer situations, low local inventory, and days on market, your home's appraised valuation may be affected.

Slow Turn-around Time

Appraisers operate under strict time guidelines. When an appraisal takes more time than usual, therefore, it's often the result of the appraiser's uncertainty on the home's value. This is a common scenario for unique homes for which comparable properties are scarce. It can also be the case for when an appraiser is unfamiliar with your area. If an appraisal takes an inordinate amount of time to complete, consider asking your REALTOR® to review the figures.

Appraisers do make mistakes occasionally. How you handle those mistakes as a seller can be the difference between a sold home and a canceled contract.


Danny Evatt, REALTOR® is a Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Danforth, serving the communities of Issaquah, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, North Bend & Fall City.

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