A recent post on “The Home Story”, a site published by Fannie Mae, explained the difference between the price a seller may get for their home and the value an appraiser might assign the property.
The Sales Price
Of course, most sellers want to maximize the value they get for the house. However, the price they set might not be reflective of the other comparable homes in the neighborhood. As the article stated:
“People tend to view their homes emotionally, and that can become quickly apparent when they decide to sell.”
That doesn’t mean that the home won’t necessarily sell for that price.
A seller can set an asking price and actually have a buyer agree to that price. However, that value may not be necessarily in agreement with what most buyers are willing to pay. For example, one person can view a property, determine it is exactly what they are looking for and well worth the asking price, whereas another person could look at the same property and feel the asking price is too high.
Steven Corbin, Director of Valuation in Fannie Mae’s CPM Real Estate division gives an example:
“Someone may have driven by the property countless times, and they really want to live in that house. So in reality they may overbid for that property. This would be a situation where the actions of a specific buyer do not represent the actions of a typical buyer.”
The Appraised Value (or Market Value)
Fannie Mae explains what they look for when appraising the house:
“When a contract is established on a property, an appraised value is determined by a professional real estate appraiser. The appraiser works on the lender’s behalf to determine that value by taking many factors into consideration, including the neighborhood, the value of properties of similar size and construction, and even such things as the type of fixtures on the premises and layout of the floor plan.”
“From a lending perspective, a bank would want to know the probable price a typical buyer would offer for the property. That’s what an appraiser would set as the market value.”
The Challenge when Sales Price and Appraisal Value are Different
If the appraiser comes in with a value that is below the agreed upon sales price, the lending institution might not authorize the mortgage for the full amount a buyer would need to complete the transaction.
Quicken Loans actually releases a Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) that quantifies the difference between what sellers and appraisers believe regarding value. The HPPI represents the difference between appraisers’ and homeowners’ opinions of home values.
Currently, there is approximately a 2% difference between what homeowners believe their home to be worth and what appraisers value that same home. On a $300,000 sale that would be a $6,000 difference. That could be a challenge that might prevent the home sale proceeding to the closing table.
Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters recently commented on this issue:
“The more homeowners are in line with appraisers, the easier it will be to refinance their mortgage and easier for those looking to buy a home. If the two are aligned, it eliminates one of the top stumbling blocks in the mortgage process.”
Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.
With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. That is why when we're ready to sell, we will look at comparable home and their sales price to make sure we have a good deal on both sales!