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Understanding the home appraisal when selling your condo

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

If you're selling your Miami condo, you will most likely need an appraisal. While similar to a comparative market analysis (CMA) performed by a real estate agent, an appraisal is a more formal and objective process that can impact the sale of your condo. In this article, we'll go over what you can expect during a Miami condo appraisal, how it differs from a CMA, and what to do if it comes in lower than expected.

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In this article, we'll cover the following:


What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is a professional evaluation of a property's value. The buyer's lender typically hires the appraiser to determine the property's value before they lend money for the purchase. The appraiser will consider the property's location, size, condition, and recent sales of similar properties.


How is an appraisal different from a CMA done by an agent?

While both an appraisal and a CMA are used to determine the value of a property, there are some key differences. A CMA is typically performed by a real estate agent and is an estimate of the property's value based on recent sales of comparable properties in the area. On the other hand, an appraisal is a more formal process conducted by a licensed appraiser. It considers additional factors, such as the condition of the property and any improvements made.


How are condo appraisals different from single-family home appraisals?

Condo appraisals differ from single-family home appraisals because they are based on similar units sold in the building, ideally in the same line. This is because condos within the same facility can have very different values depending on their location within the building, the floor they're on, and their exposure. The appraiser may also consider any special assessments or pending litigation affecting the property's value.


Preparing Your Condo for an Appraisal

Working with your agent can be extremely helpful when preparing your Miami condo for an appraisal. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Clean and Declutter: Ensure your condo is clean before the appraiser arrives. This will help the appraiser see the space clearly and appreciate the features of your home.

  2. Make Repairs: Take care of any minor repairs or maintenance issues that could affect the value of your condo. This could include fixing leaky faucets, replacing light bulbs, or touching up the paint.

  3. Highlight Improvements: If you've made any upgrades or improvements to your condo, highlight them to the appraiser. This could include new appliances, flooring, or fixtures.

  4. Provide Comps: Work with your agent to provide the appraiser comparable sales data for your building or neighborhood. This can help the appraiser get a more accurate picture of the value of your condo.

  5. Be Present: Although not required, it's a good idea to be present during the appraisal so you can answer any questions the appraiser may have. This is also an excellent opportunity to highlight the unique features of your condo and provide any additional information that could affect the value.


Working with your agent can help ensure your condo is presented in the best possible light during the appraisal process. By preparing your home and providing accurate information, you can help ensure you get the best potential value for your property.


What is an appraisal gap?

An appraisal gap is a difference between the appraised value of the property and the purchase price. If the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, the buyer may ask the seller to lower the price to match the appraised value. This can be a problem for sellers who have already accepted an offer and are counting on a certain amount of money from the sale.


Here's a scenario of an appraisal gap:


John is selling his condo in Brickell for $600,000. The appraisal values the condo at $550,000, creating an appraisal gap of $50,000. The buyer asks John to reduce the price to match the appraised value. After negotiation, they agree to split the gap and sell the condo for $575,000.


What to do if the appraisal is low and the buyer wants to renegotiate the price?

If the appraisal comes in lower than expected and the buyer wants to renegotiate the price, you can do a few things. You can negotiate with the buyer and come to a new agreement on the price. You can also challenge the appraisal if you feel it was done incorrectly or if there were errors in the process. You can walk away from the sale if you're unwilling to lower the price.


Challenging an appraisal

Challenging an appraisal is an option if the seller believes that the appraisal was not done correctly or if there were errors in the process. However, it's important to note that challenging an appraisal may only sometimes work, and there is no guarantee that the appraisal value will change.


Suppose a seller wants to challenge an appraisal. In that case, they can start by reviewing the report and looking for errors or omissions. They can also consider getting a second opinion from another appraiser to compare the values. The seller can then request a review or a rebuttal to the appraisal company or the lender who ordered the appraisal.


The seller needs to work closely with their agent throughout the process. The agent can guide the options available and help prepare a rebuttal if necessary. The agent can also help the seller understand the appraisal process and how to interpret the report.


While challenging an appraisal may only sometimes work, it may be worthwhile if the seller believes that the value needs to be revised. Sometimes, a successful challenge could lead to a higher appraisal value and a better selling price. However, it's essential to remember that the appraisal is a professional evaluation and should be taken seriously.


Conclusion

If you're selling your Miami condo, you must be prepared for the appraisal process. By understanding what to expect during the appraisal and how it differs from a CMA, you can get the best possible value for your property. Suppose the appraisal comes in lower than expected. In that case, there are options available to you. Still, it's essential to remember that the appraisal is a professional evaluation of the property's value and should be taken seriously.

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