When it comes to getting your home sold, pricing it just right is possibly the most important thing you do. You know that at some point during the selling process, an appraiser will be called in to offer his or her professional two cents regarding the value of your home, but what if this number is way off from your listing price? This could potentially cause some pretty sticky issues depending on the ways in which the two prices differ.
So, what about getting a pre-appraisal before you list your home? It might not be a bad idea, but do you really need it? You can trust that your real estate agent’s experience in the field gives her/him an incredibly keen sense with pricing, and agents are familiar the subtle nuances of the housing market that can tip prices one way or another. However, if you’re one of those people who’d rather get a second opinion, here are some pro’s and con’s of getting a pre-appraisal:
Pro: If the seller and the agent can’t agree on a price, it might help to get an outside opinion of another professional. And since an appraiser’s reputation depends on being objective, an appraiser is highly motivated to hit that number just right.
Con: No matter how experienced an appraiser might be, it’s nearly impossible to give a completely objective opinion of the value of a home. Are you ready for this? An appraisal is, by definition, “An opinion of value.” Therefore, even the most experienced agents and appraisers may not agree on the value of a given home.
Pro: An appraiser is required to log thousands of hours as an apprentice before obtaining a license, so s/he has probably already evaluated more than one home very similar to yours. Also, an appraiser will probably do a more thorough and detailed appraisal than a real estate agent, and has many points of reference to draw from in coming up with an accurate number.
Con: Real estate agents use most of the same information an appraiser does, but agents might have an added edge: Their experience with the market helps them to understand individual niche markets better than most appraisers, and they’ve probably checked on the comps in your area personally. Even if an agent’s appraisal isn’t as thorough and detailed as an appraiser’s, it might be just as accurate,
Pro: You’ll have peace of mind, and confidence as you head into the selling process.
Con: Your peace of mind won’t matter to buyers or their agents. They will have their own arsenal of trusted professionals, and no matter what, the buyer’s agent will order his/her own appraisal to cover any possible legal issues.
One last con: Regardless of how accurate your appraisal might be at the beginning of the selling process, the market is an organic beast, and fluctuates constantly. By the time you get your home on the market, let alone receive an offer on your home, your pre-appraisal could be completely off-base.
One last pro: If it makes you feel more comfortable about listing your home and you have the money to do it, why not?