The Value Showdown: Appraised Value VS. Assessed Value VS. Market Value

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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The Value Showdown - Appraised Value VS. Assessed Value VS. Market Value

The Value Showdown – Appraised Value VS. Assessed Value VS. Market Value

Ask a home owner if they know what the “value” of their home is.  It’s almost guaranteed they will respond with some number.  Proceed on asking the home owner, what value does that number reflect.  In most cases, the “deer in headlights” look is what will be seen next!  A very common discussion with buyers and sellers is the difference between an appraised value, assessed value, and the market value.

Whether buying or selling a home, be cautious of what type of information and what sources are being used to research.  With all of the information that is available nowadays on the internet, much of which is very unreliable and/or incorrect, it is important to understand what the difference is between an appraised value, assessed value, and market value.

Appraisals that are less than the agreed sale price can be frustrating to a seller!

Appraisals that are less than the agreed sale price can be frustrating to a seller!

Appraised Value
Once a buyer and a seller agree to the terms of a contract, if the buyer is financing the home with a mortgage, a bank appraisal must be completed prior to the lender approving the loan.  The purpose of an appraisal is to ensure the price that was agreed upon between the buyer and seller, is fair market value or greater.  Appraisals for the various mortgage options (FHA, Conventional, VA, etc.) have different “shelf-lives.”  The “lives” of these appraisals can vary from a few months to a year.

It is common that sellers feel their homes are worth more than what the local real estate market is reflecting.  For example, it would be great if a seller was to receive accept an offer of $300,000 on their home (even though a local real estate agent advised them their homes market value was $275,000).  Problems arise when the buyers lender performs the appraisal, and the value is indeed what the local real estate agent suggested of $275,000.  Lets look at a few different solutions for when the appraised value is less than the agreed sale price.

Negotiate a New Sale Price
Once the lender completes the appraisal and the fair market value is determined to be less than the agreed upon sale price, the buyer and seller have the opportunity to renegotiate the sale price.  The negotiated sale price would have equal to or less than the appraised value.  This is often a tough pill to swallow for the seller, however, if they want to sell their home it is sometimes what needs to be done.  Negotiating a new sale price is the most common solution resulting from an under valued appraisal.

Contest the Appraisal
If a home under appraises, there is always the option to contest the appraisal.  While this option is often ineffective, having a local real estate market expert, can be the difference.  When contesting the appraisal, the real estate agent needs to supply recent home sales (the more the better) that they feel are great “comparable” properties.  The appraisal can decide to either use or not use the “comparable” properties supplied by the real estate agent.  In this situation everyone involved is at the mercy of the appraiser.

Buyer Covers the Difference
Rare, but a possible solution, the buyer has the opportunity to adjust their down payment amount to meet the new loan to value (LTV) and down payment requirements.  Most buyers are not going to pay more for a home than their lender indicates it’s worth.

Cancel the Contract
If none of the solutions above are able to resolve the problem of the under appraisal, the contract can be cancelled.  The buyer should be granted their deposit and both parties are relieved of their contractual obligations.

Assessed Value
Also known as “Tax Value,” the assessed value of a home is very different from the appraised value and market value.  The assessed value of a home is available to anyone through local municipality or county websites.  Many consumers think a homes assessed value is what the homes fair market value is, which is not true.  It’s common for a buyer to say, “The home is assessed at $100,000 and it’s listed for $125,000, why is it listed for so much more?  It’s not worth that!”  On the reverse side, it’s common to hear from a seller, “My home is assessed at $150,000 and you want me to list it for $135,000, it’s worth more than that!”

Assessments can be contested through the local municipality and there is normally a time-frame that allows a home owner to contest the assessed value.  There is no guarantee that a municipality will adjust an assessed value, but there are a few ways to increase the probability.  Get a recent “comparable market analysis” (CMA) done by a local real estate professional.  Another option would be to have an appraisal done on the home.  The cost of an appraisal normally ranges from $300-$500.

Pricing correctly "out of the gate" will reduce problems down the road!

Pricing correctly “out of the gate” will reduce problems down the road!

Market Value
While closely related to the appraised value, there are some differences between market value and appraised value.  The market value can be determined by a licensed or unlicensed professional, while an appraisal must be completed by a licensed appraiser.  This is to prevent any bias when determining the fair market value.

When a real estate professional is determining the market value of a prospective listing, they should look at “comparable” recent sales, pending sales, closed sales, and expired listings.  The data, like an appraisal, in a perfect world should be within the past 6 months.  If unable to find “comparable” data within the past 6 months, it can go as far back as 12 months.  A home that sold 18-24 months ago, is not a good reflection of the current real estate market.  A great real estate agent with experience in the local marketplace, can greatly reduce the chances that there will be a problem with the appraised value.  Not only can this help eliminate any frustration down the road for the seller once the bank appraisal is done, but it should also get a seller an excellent price for their home in a reasonable amount of time!

Understanding the difference between these three values is important for any home owner or prospective home owner.  Whether selling, buying, or neither, it’s helpful to understand what these values are and why differs then from one another.

Other Excellent Resources Regarding Appraised, Assessed, or Market Values


If you’re selling your home in Rochester, NY, contact us and we’d be happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation comparative market analysis (CMA).  If you’re buying a home in Rochester, NY and you’re wondering if a home is priced well or not, contact us, and we’d be happy to share our opinions and thoughts.

About the authors:  The above article The Value Showdown: Appraised Value Vs. Assessed Value Vs. Market Value was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With almost 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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