But My Property Appraised for More?

During a trip to Macy’s some time ago, I bought a fabulous new outfit. I’m a size pudgy petite, so I have to buy when the things are available. Low and behold, weeks later, the outfit was 1⁄2 what I paid. And so it is with appraised values. Sellers often disagree with their agent about value especially if they received a recent higher appraisal. Not so unlike the outfit I bought at Macy’s, appraisals are affected by time.

Appraised Value

The appraised value, in simplest terms, is really an assessment of value based on a snapshot in time. Day-to-day sales can cause property values to fluctuate. Appraisals attempt to turn a subjective opinion into an objective analysis. But we don’t have “cookie cutter” neighborhoods and because most appraisers don’t physically view many of the properties used in their analysis, they rely heavily on input from REALTORS®. Not every appraiser views value in the same way. Remember, the purpose of an appraisal is to establish what a “ready, willing and able” buyer would reasonably pay for the property in an even market (favoring neither buyer nor seller) and when the sale is made at “arm’s length” (the parties are disinterested).

When an appraisal is part of a purchase, the appraiser has a copy of the sales contract. They have written evidence of what a buyer is willing to pay. They look for value to support the sale. As things stay on the market or as prices come down, new sales might trend down. With re-finances, an appraiser makes their analysis based on (usually) their best guess of the properties that are most similar. Appraisals done based on values of sales 3-6 months ago could actually be higher than the current market will bear. Like Macy’s, not many pudgy petites would be willing to pay the same price today as I did a few of months ago because they know the outfit is now cheaper.

A Confusing Situation

We now have a more confusing situation than in a rising market. Prices are trending down in some neighborhoods and changes in appraised values haven’t always caught up. REALTORS® aren’t appraisers but we look at property every day. A busy agent can be trusted to evaluate how your home will fit into the overall market. Remember, our job is to get the most we can for your property. It is our fiduciary duty. So, whether your agent shops in the pudgy petite section or the tall thin aisle, confidence in their ability is key to finding the proper fit between market, buyer and appraisal in today’s confusing marketplace!

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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