Q & A with Dottie: How Can I Tell an Appraisal is Too Low?

Q & A with Dottie: How Can I Tell an Appraisal is Too Low?

Residential News » Q & A with Dottie Herman | By Dottie Herman | July 23, 2014 1:49 PM ET

Q: We are trying to refinance our home and we think the appraisal value is too low.  How can I tell?

A: While the Internet provides a lot of information at your fingertips, being objective about the value of your home is difficult because you are so close to it. You might ask the local real estate agent you have worked with in the past to look at the sales used by the bank appraiser to see if they are appropriate.  Have a conversation with them about homes you both think are most similar and why they sold for more or less than what you think your home is worth.  Second opinions are often very insightful.  You might even consider getting your own appraisal but remember that the bank can't rely on that report.  In today's market, banks rarely disagree with their appraiser's results.  If you are confident there has been an error that you can't get corrected, you might consider going to another bank.

Q:  Hello, I am a freshman in college. If I am interested in working for a real estate company when I graduate, what major/minor would you suggest for me? What does the interviewer look for in an agent? Thank you so much, I hope to be an agent in NYC one day.

A:  We applaud you for considering a career in real estate!  Many colleges and universities offer a variety of courses of study and degrees in the field, whether it be in Residential or Commercial Brokerage, Investments, etc. Many different skill sets come into play in becoming a successful agent, including communication, marketing, and technology. Taking courses in these areas may prove helpful, as will acquiring an internship with a successful brokerage firm.

To be an agent, you will need to become licensed. A first step is to check the licensing requirements of the state in which you plan to work, so that you can enroll in a State Approved Course of Study. Good luck in pursing your passion.

Q: I'm recently retired and thinking of selling my home which I've lived in for over 30 years.  What's the first step?

A: Do your homework.  Chances are that you've not followed the market closely in recent years, and it is important to update yourself on the local market.  Go online and look around to see the sales and listings that are similar to your home in your local market. 

Q: If I am paying higher property taxes on a finished basement and additional full bath in the basement....Then why is that not considered added value $ to my house when selling? And why can't I advertise such when selling?

A: I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but in most cases a finished basement does add value to a house compared to a house with an unfinished basement. However, it is generally not considered equal in value to the living areas above it, so it should not be included in the total square footage or the total room or bathroom count of the house. That doesn't mean that the amenity doesn't add value. Think of it as a separate amenity that has the potential to provide additional value to your home.

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