Ask a Realtor: When should I get an appraisal on my property? (column) |

Ask a Realtor: When should I get an appraisal on my property? (column)

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned Ask a Realtor

Dear Joan: I am thinking of selling my unique mountain getaway in Eagle County. I really don’t think there are any “comparable” properties to figure my sales price off of, so I am thinking of hiring an appraiser to give me a value.

I heard you say in one of your previous articles that you usually don’t encourage getting an appraisal prior to getting a contract on your property, but I cannot remember why. Would you mind refreshing my memory and/or give me a good place to start figuring out what I should ask for my property?

— Good Memory

Dear Good Memory: I am so glad you remembered the important part of the message about using caution prior to just going ahead and ordering an appraisal. The main caution is that most appraisals are considered valid for at least six months, and if, after you have ordered and paid for the appraisal, you believe the appraisal is low, then it may reappear as an issue when your buyer is attempting to get a loan for a higher price.

Therefore, if you had not done an appraisal, and waited for the buyer’s lender to order the first appraisal, then the appraiser will actually be given a copy of the sales contract with the price and, therefore, he will already know what price he is looking to verify.

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Appraisals are usually just that: verifications for the lender that the amount they are loaning is indeed a realistic value for the home being financed. An alternate plan, which might very well be better for you and many other similar homeowners, is that you simply find one or more knowledgeable Realtors and ask each one to give you their “opinion of value” for your property.

An opinion of value is not an appraisal, nor is it actually the worth of the property. It is simply the capable Realtors’ opinion of what your property will sell for in today’s market. And, that is truly all you need to know.

For example, if you have a very rare gem or coin or antique car, then it might be said to be worth a very high value. However, if you want the money out of it right now, then you can only sell it for what the market will pay at the time you sell it. So, when you speak to your exceptional Realtor, you need to ask about price and timing for selling your getaway.

These things may not affect the intrinsic value, but they will certainly affect how much you will get for your property in today’s market. Hope this helps. All the best.

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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