Question by M C: low ball appraisal on refinance in stable real estate market?
We are located in Greenville, SC. Prices here are stable. We bought our home about 9 months ago. It is designed by Don Gardner, has 3 bed, 2 bath…2400 square feet with a half finished full walkout basement. The house was new when purchased and was on the market for 10 months and builder was eager to get rid of it. We purchased it for 250K and the list price was 280k. Builder and agent claim we basically paid for the costs on the house…may not be entirely true but it is probably close. Anyways, when house was appraised for purchase the appraiser used the house next door for one of the comps…similar house but finished basement sold for 290+. So we tried to refinance with our mortgage company and the appraisal came back at 200K. Same exact appraiser. The comps she used were of homes a few streets from us. They were the same size but 8-10 years old and without basements. Without a doubt not very comparable to the new home we purchased 9 months ago. Seems kind of screwy to us and it looks like we are out 500 bucks. We tried to send in other comps to argue the appraisal and they were rejected. We feel like they are doing this to keep us at the higher rate? Any thoughts? What is funny is that she has the same statement in both of our appraisals “home prices in this area stable” and yet now she says our home is worth 25 percent less. BTW there are no foreclosures in our area. The builder just sold like 5 new houses in the neighborhood and is building some basement houses so we are thinking of trying a local mortgage lender….smart move?

Best answer:

Answer by Asda
let someone else handle it

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Home appraisals are a necessary step in the process of selling or refinancing your home. While many homes today aren’t worth as much as they were when they were bought, it is crucial for homeowners to be realistic when it comes to getting their home appraised. 

  • If you are in the process of getting your home ready to be put on the market or if you are interested in refinancing, review the following tips from Equity Mortgage Lending as you prepare for your home appraisal.     
  • The appraiser will need approximately 30 minutes to one hour to complete the inspection phase of the appraisal process, which includes: exterior photos of the front and rear of the home and a photo of the street in front of the property; measurements of the exterior of the home, garage and any outbuildings; a walk-through inspection of all rooms and levels of the interior of the home, including the basement.
  • Get organized. Put together a checklist that will help you get ready for your appraisal and get the results you're looking for.
  • Be flexible when scheduling the appointment.
  • Have a copy of your home’s blueprint to help verify measurements and lot size.
  • Provide a list of improvements made to the property since the purchase. Improvements that should be noted include adding a pool, patio, updating your kitchen or bathroom and any room additions, etc. 
  • Allow your appraiser access to the entire property, including access to any crawl space or attic areas.
  • Keep in mind that a clean home makes a good impression. Be sure to trim the lawn, clean the pool and garage, repair cracked windows or torn screens, check for leaky faucets and secure gutters and down spouts before your appraisal.
  • Point out any amenities that may not be obvious to the appraiser: sprinkler systems, patios, pools, security systems, built-in vacuum, etc.
  • Provide a copy of last year's tax assessment information.
  • Know what year the house was built and when improvements were made.
  • The first thing appraisers look for is comparables, so be prepared and have a list of recent sales of similar properties in the immediate neighborhood.