Phoenix appraisals, you never know

The more time I spend in this business and the more time I believe I understand what will happen, the more I am surprised. The only thing certain about a Phoenix area appraisal is the uncertainty.

With prices increasing as fast as they continue to do in Phoenix and the East Valley real estate market, you always worry about appraisals keeping up with the demand.

The issue with prices increasing so quickly is finding comparable properties to use for a home priced to take into account the rising demand and prices.

Sometimes they get it, sometimes not

In my experience, over the last few months it sometimes appraisers understand the market trends, and sometimes not so much.

I have seen some extreme exams in the last few months. In one case, we put in an offer on a condo in Mesa and negotiated a price of $90,000. I told my clients based on recent sold properties, and looking at the condition, I believed the place was worth 92-94k. We were shocked when the appraisal came back at 85k.

In another situation, we negotiate a price on a starter home in Queen Creek for 103k. I told my clients based on comps I’d be shocked if it appraises for more than 95k. Most likely lower than that. I almost fell out of my chair when the appraisal came back at 103k.

After further review

I took a closer look at both appraisals, and they could not have been more different. The first on I thought the appraiser did not give nearly enough credit to the condition of this property compared to comparable properties in the same subdivision. I thought they gave too much weight to comparables that were foreclosures that needed complete remodels and not enough weight to other properties that had been remodeled recently.

In the second case, when I reviewed the comparable homes used, I was blown away by how much the appraiser stretched to do everything they could to make the home appraise at the contracted price. The appraiser skipped over comparables that had recently sold in the same subdivision and reached out to homes in another subdivision that was a mile away where the home values were higher. Unlike the first scenario, this appraiser was doing everything they could to make sure the deal happened.

Bottom line, in this market I have given up guessing what the appraisal will come in at. I believe I could hire three appraisers to look at the same home and come up with appraisals that have as much as 20-25% variation. If you are looking for an appraisal to come in at a certain number, you need to make sure you have a realistic plan what you will do if that does not happen.

If a house does not appraise the seller cannot force the buyer to make up the difference and the buyer cannot force the seller to drop the price. Next week we will look deeper at what to do when appraisals come in low.


Image credit: <a href=’’>hjalmeida / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


This post was written in 2013. In 2015 we had the following infographic made on the appraisal process.

Phoenix home appraisal process

Want to share this infographic, feel fee, we make it easy for you to do so. Just copy and paste this text into your site.

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img title=”Art of the Appraisal” alt=”Home appraisal process” src=”” width=”100%” border=”0″ /><br /> Brought to you by: <a href=””>Phoenix Real Estate Guy</a></p>


  1. says

    Hi Dean,
    I have worked in the business for over 30 years and I never stops be surprised over the appraisers job. Sometimes we need to use 2-3 different appraisers before we will find the right valuation.

  2. says

    Great post….I am also a real estate agent and  I usually in touch with the buyers only and i tried they get the best home at a reasonable price.
    I appreciate your blog and keep in touch.
    <a href=””>Supertech eco village</a>


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