How Does an Appraisal Affect the Sale of Your House in Sacramento?

In this article we’ll discuss what an appraisal is? We’ll also answer the question: How does an Appraisal affect the sale of your house in Sacramento?

What idf the Appraisal comes in low
The Appraisal can dramatically affect the sale of your Sacramento House.

One thing is for certain… unless your house is being sold for cash, an appraisal will be required by the buyer’s lender and that is why it is important to consider all factors, including the condition of the house before you decide on the sales price and list it. Are any of the following issues present and going to create a problem?

  • Code Violations
  • Non-Permitted Additions
  • Deferred Maintenance
  • Curb Appeal
  • Peeling Paint
  • Safety Issues (Cracked Driveways, Garages, Foundations, Sidewalks)
  • Dry Rot around windows doors and roofing areas
  • Roofing Issues


If you are going to accept offers with financing it’s better to take care of all of the deferred maintenance issues in advance, because if you don’t, the appraisal will certainly become a roadblock and no funding will occur before the repairs are made.

The sale of your house has a process that includes many different components that need to be managed within a time frame that is acceptable to you.  The appraisal is just another hurdle that determines the not only the value of the house, but in some cases the suitability or as the FHA calls it, the minimum standard of living. As such, certain types of financing and their required inspections/appraisals can cause significant time delays.  As a seller, you need to understand the types of appraisals that are required and how they can negatively affect the sale of your house in Sacramento.

In addition, according to the National Association of Realtors new rules and regulations have put appraisals in the spotlight as a significant percentage has come in under value.

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Making it even more difficult, the new rules prohibit Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lenders from having direct contact with appraisers. As a result most lenders have opted to work with appraisal management companies, or AMC’s, whose pool of residential appraisers includes those with limited training and/or knowledge with the areas and houses that, are being appraised.

An appraisal is a written estimate or opinion of a property’s current market value as viewed by an appraiser. The value is usually based upon a market analysis of recent sales prices for similar properties in the area, and the property’s physical condition. This opinion or estimate is developed using the two standard approaches for residential property valuation:

1) The Comparison Appraisal:  Certainly the easiest and most popular method of conducting an appraisal, the appraiser looks at properties that have sold within the past 90 days of similar size, quality and location (usually ¼ miles radius) that have recently sold in order to arrive at a comparative value. Differences between the properties are factored into the analysis by adding or subtracting amounts to adjust for things like more bathrooms, bedrooms, a smaller lot, a view, new roof, hardscape, an attached 2 car garage, etc. This method is very similar to that of the comparative market analysis (CMA) given by real estate agents to help determine the value and sales price of a home before it is listed on the MLS.

2) The Cost Appraisal:  This is a more detailed analysis, and without sufficient comparative sales data readily available to make a comparison appraisal as described above, the cost appraisal is a valuation of what it would cost to build and/or replace the improvements as of the date of the appraisal. The cost approach also allows for deductions for issues like deferred maintenance and physical deterioration. These are then added to the land value to determine estimated value of the property.

Most appraisals are Comparative in nature and the Appraiser must state the method he/she used in arriving at and preparing the appraisal report. Some appraisers will combine methods from both the Comparison and Cost appraisals allowing for additions and/or deductions for the individual characteristics of the subject property.

So, for an appraisal, the value of the home is established by many factors including square footage, the number of beds and baths, the age of the house, updating if any, comparable sales within the past 30 to 90 days within ¼ mile of the subject property, condition of the house and of course its uniqueness in the neighborhood.

When the sale of the house is involved, the fact that there is a purchase and sale agreement is a powerful piece of evidence that a value has already been established, as the buyer determined the house to have a value equal to that of the amount offered. In a sale of a house, the appraiser must then take into consideration the amount of the offer as part of the market analysis and then determine the houses true value. This is an important distinction, because with a refinance, there is no such contract and as such the only data that is important are the comparable sales and valuation established by the appraiser in his/her sole opinion.

Different Loans Have Different Appraisal Requirements

Many sellers don’t know that accepting an offer with financing attached can come with burdensome appraisal requirements placed back on them. Most people think that an appraisal just determines the value of the house in question, but what if the house was actually scored according to its current condition and the approval of financing was based on that alone?

Appraisals come in different varieties, with differing requirements including;

The Mortgage loans made by private lenders such as banks and credit unions are typically known as conventional mortgages. Home appraisals for conventional mortgages focus only on the value of the house being appraised. The appraiser is only concerned about the condition of the house as it pertains to value.

The FHA, however, insures the mortgages it’s backing on behalf of eligible borrowers, and as such the FHA wants its appraisals to address specific safety and suitability factors it calls Minimum Standards of Living. Simply stated the FHA wants to guarantee that homes purchased using FHA-insured mortgages are not only worth it, but the FHA also wants to ensure the homes its borrowers are buying are also “safe and secure” and in move in ready condition.

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The acid test for what the FHA calls its “minimum standards of living” are embodied into the appraisal. The FHA minimum standards of living involve the safety and security of a home’s occupants and the appraisal scores the house based on noted defects such as broken windows, leaking faucets, water heaters, roofs condition, unsafe electrical systems and inoperative heating systems. In fact, if there are too many defects in a home’s safety and security scoring, the guidelines can prevent an FHA-insured mortgage’s approval. The general rule of thumb is that the home must be in “move-in ready condition”. No trip hazards in terms of uneven cement walkways, no holes in the walls, no inoperable appliances and no non-permitted building alterations. The FHA appraisal scoring take exception to any safety issues and any that are listed on the appraisal would need to be fixed by the seller before the FHA would approve the loan.

Like the FHA, the VA also has its minimum standards it calls the Minimum Property Requirements (MPR) that are very strict and also separately score the condition of the house in question. The VA appraisals are written specifically calling out those deficiencies and any MPR’s listed on the appraisal would need to be fixed by the seller before the VA would approve the loan.

Generally speaking this means additional time and money for sellers, because any deficiencies noted in the appraisal must be first repaired by the seller and then re-inspected prior to approval. It is not uncommon for re-inspections to uncover completely unrelated issues and the process will start all over again.

For Homeowners that want to sell their homes fast, this can be exhausting and a deal breaker.

How Does the Appraisal Affect the Sale of Your House?

Appraisals can have a dramatic effect on the sale of your house. The appraisal sets the baseline for valuation so for any sale to occur the appraisal is the one document that lets the Bank know whether it can proceed or not.  When an appraisal comes in at value without any conditions, all systems are generally a go.  With a low appraisal, the negotiations start all over again and you may find your house back on the market starting the entire process all over again.

Ask any seller of a house that has accepted an offer at full asking price about the anxiety of the appraisal process. In my career I have sold many houses and to this day I do not sleep well until the appraisal is in and at value.

What if the Value is lower than what I Expected?

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We buy Houses Sacramento We Pay Cash. No Inspections, No Contingencies.

In a rapidly changing market, such as we see today, buyers and sellers are often caught off guard when the appraised value is higher or lower than expected. A higher value will not have an impact on the loan approval process, but a lower value will certainly cause delays and my experience, usually kill the sale.

Remember, a lower appraised value is used to determine a minimum acceptable loan amount from the bank. Options for dealing with a low appraisals usually include increasing the buyer’s down payment to make up the difference between the appraised value and the purchase price, or the seller can lower the sales price.

You may also work with the lender to request an appraisal review or a second appraisal if you believe there is omitted information such as recent comparable sales that may have been omitted. If the comparable sales that were used are really not similar to the subject property due to its condition, modifications, additions or improvements. Generally speaking, however, it is rare that a different appraiser is going to override the first appraiser’s opinion.

Appraisals are an integral part and necessity of the real estate market and they are there to protect all individuals in a transaction. It is up to you to be armed with the correct information so that you can decide the types of offers that you will accept. As of this writing it is still a right of the seller to reject any offer based on the type of financing included into the offer.

It is also true that many sellers recognize the risk involved in accepting offers that include FHA or VA financing and a large percentage of them root them out of the process from the onset. It is not uncommon for a listing to read NO FHA or VA loans will be considered.

If you need to sell your house fast and you cannot afford to make the necessary repairs or are unwilling to do so because you believe you can never recoup the money spent, you have alternatives.  Unlike Banks or Mortgage Companies, Cash Home Buyers in Sacramento and the We Buy Houses Sacramento companies that are real estate investors, do not require an appraisal. It is not because anyone wants to keep the “real value of your house” from you, it’s because when we make an offer to buy your house for cash we already know, based on our research, its cash value.

How Does an Appraisal Affect the Sale of Your House in Sacramento?

In this ever-changing world the seller must determine what is best for them and sometimes that means considering an all cash offer from an all cash home buyer.

My name is Peter Westbrook and I am a Real Estate Investor and cash house buyer  located in Sacramento Ca. We buy Houses in Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, Manteca, Lodi and Tracy CA.  in their current as is condition and we pay cash. If you have a house that you need to sell,  I would like to talk to you. I won’t even order an appraisal. Instead I will make you an offer without any contingencies, without any inspections and without any if’s, and’s or but’s.

Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook is a local Cash Home Buyer / Real Estate Investor in Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto CA and Tulsa Oklahoma. He has written numerous real estate articles that have been published here and by other blog and news outlets. Peter has appeared on several local and national news reports regarding the state of the Stockton and Sacramento Real Estate Markets.

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