Comparable Market Analysis

How to prepare a GREAT CMA

good-selling-price-home_article-image.jpg

We know that pricing properties in some markets can feel like grasping at straws. The more unique the property or the area, the more difficult this task becomes. We hope these steps that appraisers follow in the course of developing value opinions will be informative and helpful to you.

  1. Determine your market area. Location, location, location. Depending on the property that you are representing, your market area could be a single street or an entire county. Major differences in marketability can be found by moving from one neighborhood to another, so when expanding outside of the immediate area ensure that your buyer pool would truly consider these expanded properties as well.

  2. Look at the sales in the immediate market over the last 1-3 years. This will help to give an idea of what the immediate area can bear as far as values. If your price is above the 3 year high for the area, there should be a VERY good reason.

  3. Narrow in on the types of properties over 1-3 years. Now that you have a general idea of the broad market, begin to refine your search. In some markets, you will have enough sales to only consider the last 6 months. With unique properties you may need to go further back in time. Consider the main factors in the buyer pool for your property. These include:

    1. Larger than typical acreage - If your subject has a city lot, stay away from the larger parcels. Sometimes appraisers, in order to bracket other amenities and due to lack of sales, may include such a property, but this requires expertise in vacant land sales to accomplish credible adjustments.

    2. Quality of the construction - If your subject is a standard 100 year old home, stay away from the custom built house with marble floors.

    3. Condition of the property - try to stay in the general age group of your subject, and consider recent renovations that have/haven’t been performed.

    4. Lower numbers of bedrooms and baths - the buyer pool for one bedroom homes with one bathroom won’t be looking at 5 bedroom homes with 4 bathrooms, and visa versa. Homes with 1 - 2 bedrooms have a drastically different marketability from even 3 bedroom homes that should be considered.

  4. Pick your top sales. Bracket the amenities of the home you’re representing, selecting properties a little superior and inferior for each major marketable component (lot size, quality, condition, bedroom/bathroom count, etc). Look at the best sales you have over the last three years and look at the range that is indicated. Begin to “squeeze” in within that range considering which are superior and inferior to your subject, coming to a informed range that you can advise your buyer/seller with.

  5. Only after the above consider listings. Everyone wants their house to sell for more than its worth, which makes listings fundamentally flawed for value determination. Until a property is sold, a listing price is only a representation of what a seller would like to get for the property, not what a buyer was willing to pay.

What NOT to do:

  1. Don’t go 60+ miles away unless you’re representing a highly unique property.

  2. Don’t take the sales of the area, and come up with the average.

  3. Don’t compare a 2 bedroom home to only 4 bedroom homes.

  4. Don’t simply search properties higher than what the seller wants and try to “make it work”

  5. Don’t look at only listings and do the above

  6. Don’t use Zillow. Don’t EVER use Zillow. By their own admission, 50% of their Zestimates nationwide are off by more than 5%. In other words, outside of highly homogeneous recent building plans, they’re numbers are worthless.

    For example, the owner of Zillow himself sold his home for 40% less than what Zillow estimated… https://www.inman.com/2016/05/18/zillow-ceo-spencer-rascoff-sold-home-for-much-less-than-zestimate/

    1. Lets look at another example from our area:

This is 162 Glade Run Road, Kittanning PA 16201. This .624 acre property for years was “Zestimated” at $112,350. On February 28, 2019 the property sold for $8,000… an error of 93%. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!! Once the property transferred, Zillow adjusted the new Zestimate.

This is 162 Glade Run Road, Kittanning PA 16201. This .624 acre property for years was “Zestimated” at $112,350. On February 28, 2019 the property sold for $8,000… an error of 93%. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!! Once the property transferred, Zillow adjusted the new Zestimate.

Screenshot: 06/24/2019. Despite that selling price, it is still estimated to be worth $102,602. In short, Zillow can not even be trusted where there are recent sales. A drop of just 10%, when the data shows a drop of 93%.

Screenshot: 06/24/2019. Despite that selling price, it is still estimated to be worth $102,602. In short, Zillow can not even be trusted where there are recent sales. A drop of just 10%, when the data shows a drop of 93%.

Avoid these poor practices that will lead to a property expiring without a sale, drastically long marketing times or a price that won’t be supported and will “kill the deal.”