Real Estate Analysis and Commentary in Peoria, Arizona

by Jason Clow, owner and founder of West Valley Appraisal Services
07/29/2019

Through my 22 years of residential appraisal experience in the Maricopa County market, I have been asked countless times, “Should I get an appraisal before listing or buying a home?”.  The short answer is “YES”.  In this month’s blog, I will go over the pros and cons of ordering and having a private appraisal for each instance, and you can decide what is best for you.

Selling a home, why is a professional private appraisal a good idea?

  1. Get an accurate measured square footage of your home, many times the square footage is much different than what the county assessors records indicates. If it is much smaller than the assessor’s records indicate an appraisal on the front end can often allow the owners to list the property accurately and avoid possible issues with a lender ordered an appraisal, upset buyers, fallout contracts, and piece of mind. An actual measurement provides the market accepted livable square footage of your property.
  2. Know the market based on actual sales and market trends. Realtors are great and are always looking to get the highest possible sales price on your home; however, to over-price a home is not always good. Negative market stigma can often come from initially listing your home well above market value, and the professional Realtors that work your area will often over-look your property over time, even when you eventually lower the price in the market value range.
  3. Understand the positive and negative features of your home. A private appraisal will often discuss the positive elements of your home, distinguish between “personal property & real property”, and call it like it is based on sales in your neighborhood and/or competing neighborhoods.
  4. Piece of mind knowing your listing price is supported in the market, so you can plan accordingly on a realistic sales price of your property.
  5. Typical appraisal costs in Maricopa County range from $400 (for basic homes) to $1,000 (for complex properties). This cost is minimal when considering the marketing power of having a personal appraisal to provide pease of mine to the potential buyers that the property is “worth” the asking price.

Buying a home, why is a professional private appraisal a good idea (especially when paying cash)?

  1. Know the actual square footage of the livable area and other amenities. As noted above, assessor’s records are often wrong, and you don’t want to be purchasing a new home thinking it is 2,900 sq.ft. and it is really 2,600 sq.ft., especially when the home is priced as a 2,900 sq.ft. home. It is always the buyer’s responsibility to confirm the square footage, per the purchase contract. Typically, in the Maricopa County market, buyers have a 10-day inspection period to investigate their new home, that would be a great time to get a private appraisal.
  2. Know what the market supports, based on the recent sales in the market area. Often, individual markets / subdivisions can vary with-in a couple of blocks, and just because homes on the other side of the street have sold for a certain price, doesn’t mean homes on your side of the street sell for the same price.
  3. Know the “external” negative features of your home like traffic, power lines, commercial influences, etc. A private appraisal will reflect the appraiser’s supported opinion on the influence on value of things like a busy road, commercial, cell phone tower, power line views, etc. Often, people move from other parts of the country where certain external influences do not make much of a difference; however, in a market like Maricopa County, these influences could make the home your purchasing much less appealing in the eyes of the overall market.
  4. Piece of mind knowing that your offer price is supported, and the home is worth what it is being marketed as.

Think of it this way, getting a private appraisal on a property you are selling or buying is like taking a used car to a mechanic prior to selling or purchasing.  Knowing the most information about the property can and will assist in making the best financial decisions regarding that property.


Posted by Jason Clow on July 29th, 2019 1:35 AMLeave a Comment

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