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Should I Get an Appraisal Before Selling My House?

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Appraisers are rarely used to help set prices on residential real estate. They are used extensively by mortgage lenders to set valuations on which to base loans and to set prices on commercial and industrial property.

Using them for homes, condos, and co-ops is kind of overkill. Besides, in my experience more likely than not the appraiser will come in with the wrong market price! Yikes!

That’s not to say that appraisers don’t do a good job. They do. However, they typically only consider comparablespast sales of similar properties. Thus, by nature, their valuations tend to be conservative.

However, sometimes there are special circumstances, as when you have a unique house (it’s round instead of square, comes with a lot of acreage, could have industrial usage value, and so on) and an agent may indicate that an licensed appraiser could be worthwhile.

Appraisers have extensive educational courses in appraisal and usually have served an apprenticeship learning how to correctly appraise property.

But for must properties, a CMA (comparable market analysis) is sufficient. The good news is that virtually all agents offer a CMA for free.

Contact us for a FREE CMA.


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By Dana Ash-McGinty

Dana Ash-McGinty is the Principal Broker of ASH | MCGINTY, a Washington, DC Real Estate Brokerage. This real estate maven has 15+ years experience in residential, commercial and land sales in addition to multi-state residential renovation, re-zoning, and condo conversion projects. A sought after real estate authority, she has been featured on CNN and in various real estate and financial publications. Dana is married to the highly esteemed Dr. Dana W. McGinty, a Washington, DC internal medicine physician and medical correspondent. They are often referred to as "The Danas".

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