Determining value is an opinion, not a science.

You can ask 3 Realtors for a Comparative Market Analysis or you can pay for an appraisal and what you will get is a hopefully educated opinion of value.  It is possible that you will end up with 4 different opinions of value…ideally all 4 will be within reasonable distance of one another.  I would expect REALTORS will give a range of value (by way of example: the property is worth between $210,000 and $218,000) and appraisers use 3 methods of determining value (cost approach, income approach and comparative market analysis approach) and come up with one price.

The discussion of value on property is a hot topic these days.  Why?  Because of supply and demand and the ultimate deciders of real estate value…the buyers of real estate; perhaps you heard those folks are a bit more scarce than they were a few years back.  And irony of all ironies, we use historic sold properties to determine the value of current for sale properties–even in our modest decline market, that poses quite a riddle.

Here is what I want you to know:

The CMA and appraisal have a very short shelf life in today’s real estate climate, no longer than 90 days.  If you have been on the market a while or received a price opinion a while back, it is time for a reexamination of comparable sold information.  A CMA or appraisal done over four months ago is absolutely useless.

Town Assessments have everything to do with the taxes you pay and are completely irrelevant to the market value of your property.  That 70% of market value figure could have been determined quite some time ago and they may not have even entered your house…disregard.

If you are currently on the market, know thy competition like the back of your hand or make sure your agent does.  What do they got that you don’t, and vice versa.  Do not price to be selling the competition (not a good place to be).  While marketing, be open to the ongoing CMA.

The upshot, stay ahead of the “opinions” you have received…chasing the market costs very real money and extremely valuable time.