Property Appraisals: Can You Negotiate When It's Too High, or Low?

  • Bridget Townsend
  • 03/3/22

Property Appraisals: Can You Negotiate When It's Too High, or Low?

I have folks ask me all the time about handling their appraisals.

Questions like,

"What if a bedroom isn't permitted?"

"Can I choose the appraiser?"

"What if the value comes in too low, too high?"

Let's take a look at those and get some answers.

The Truth About Appraisals

Now, typically in an appraisal, and it depends on the appraisers, but some are appraisers are a little more thorough than others. And in fact, during the pandemic, some of them can just do their job with a simple "drive-bye", and not even looking at the property from the inside. They just look at the exterior and do the appraisal based on "curb appeal".

Are Prices Fixed After Appraisal?

Let's answer the question if appraisals are "set in stone?"

Bottom line, appraisers are humans who make mistakes. I've been doing real estate for 10 years now, and I haven't seen every home, every neighborhood, or every building. However, I have had situations where they'll give a property a valuation that may not really match the market value or agreed upon sale price in the accepted offer.

Thankfully, you can contest an appraisal.

Contesting appraisals is rare, but there may have been certain situations the appraiser was not aware of during their inspection that affect the value.

Here's a very common example I've personally experienced many times.

During one sale I had a buyer who thought the price should be a lot lower than market value, not realizing that all the condos were facing each other. They had no view to speak of, making the units much less desirable. So when you looked out the windows all you saw were the neighbors, as opposed to the corner-units selling for more. Those units were under a big shade tree and very private.

The appraiser asked me about the value of one of the corner-units based a previous sale of mine, and I had to explain to him the difference in the view and location was significant. And that's why our other unit sold for so much more.

In all, there are a number of different factors that the appraiser has to consider when coming up with a home value. They also reach out to the realtors and we do work together to help each other out.

What If The Value Comes In Low?

If the appraisal comes in less than the value, which can happen, there are options.

Let's say you're doing a 100% financing loan, such as a VA loan. Well, if you want to honor the price you offered for the property, you have to make up the difference in cash.

Imagine you offer $100,000 for a home, and the appraisal comes back at $70,000. If you have an additional $30,000 in cash lying around to make up the difference it's possible to continue with the deal. If not, then you'll need to either renegotiate with the seller, or terminate the deal.

What If The Value Comes In High?

On the other end of the spectrum, what happens when the appraised value comes back at over the accepted purchase price?

For example, let's say you offered $100,000 for a property and the appraisal comes back at $130,000. Well then, you're in luck!  That's a great situation to be in for the buyer because it means they've just earned an additional $30,000 in equity in the property if it closes. 

Since appraisals are typically paid for by the buyer for peace of mind for both you and your lender, the seller does not need to be told what the value came back at when it's high.

In Closing

That's my professional opinion. It's best to speak with your realtor and financial team to decide what's best for your situation.

Finally, if you're a resident of Oahu, I want to let you know that you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at theOahuist, or check out our website at www.theOahuist.com

Bridget Townsend
RB-23199 REALTOR, Corcoran Pacific Properties SRES, PSA, MRP, ABR
808.265.3906
hawaiianhomes808@gmail.com
www.theoahuist.com 

 

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