How to Navigate the Problematic Home Appraisal

Have you bought, sold, or refinanced a home recently? Then you know what a home appraisal is. If not, here is a little education on the infamous and often problematic home appraisal.

Are home appraisals all the same?

You might think they should or would be, but most would agree, they are not. If you are refinancing your home, you tend to have a better chance of squeaking by without incident than you do if you’re selling your home. “Why,” you may ask? I won’t pretend to know for sure, but it could have something to do with the fact that you have a good track record of making your mortgage payments, and the bank wants to keep you or gain you as a customer.

Can the home appraisal make or break a deal?

It doesn’t matter what you think your home is worth or what a buyer may be willing to pay for it. If a bank is involved, the buck stops with the appraisal. Normally you have the option to adjust the purchase agreement to reflect the appraised value of the home so the sale can go through. This is likely advisable since both parties, that means you, are already committed to the sale.

What are your options if the home appraisal is low?

If an appraisal comes back low, you do have choices.

  • Scream at your agent, even though it’s not their fault.
  • Dig your heels in and let the transaction fall apart.
  • Appeal the appraisal and order a new one. This option will cost you both time and money and often does not return the desired result.

Most people simply deal with the result and make the adjustments to see the sale through.

How do you avoid the home appraisal problem altogether?

You can always get an appraisal before listing your home. Your agent should offer you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA is a detailed report of your immediate market and will outline what homes like yours have sold for in the recent past and are on the market for right now. Your agent may give you information based on that report that you may not want to hear. You may think that because you replaced your furnace and air conditioning, and put a new roof on your house, you should be able to recoup those costs. Unfortunately, there is a cost to maintenance and upkeep that is not always recoverable. That being said, kitchens and baths and tasteful decor do help a home appraise well. Having your home appraised in advance of listing will give you a good idea of where the selling price should be.

Looking to refinance or sell your home? Call Presto Real Estate Services at (630) 336-1820 or email us at We can help you get the answers you need on a home appraisal for your home.

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