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My appraisal came in 27K less than what is noted on Zillow, any advise on how to challenge it?

I am in the Albany NY area and looking to refinance but based on the appraisal figure being 27K less than what Zillow has my home I most likely will not be able to proceed with a refinance unless I get an apprased value near what Zillow is showing. Any suggestions ?
  • December 18 2010 - Colonie
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Answers (6)

Zillow values are not appraisals and often time the value is different from what the licensed appraiser finds. If you want to challenge the value, you need to find comps to have a valid argument. Zillow endevors to educate the consumer, and theyuse multiple resources to find the value in your home but it could be off as mentioned by others.

Good luck with your situation
  • December 22 2010
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Typically, an appraisal is a much better indicator of value than the Zestimate.  Appraisals are not infallible, either.  Unless you can pinpoint errors on the appraisal, find a recent comparable that benefits you or are willing to pay for another one (and pray for a higher result), I think you're going to have come to grips that you're unable to refi right now.
  • December 18 2010
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Try getting a CMA from a local agent to see if you have anything was missed in your appraisal. Most agents are happy to give you a ballpark estimate. That will tell you if the value that you have now is correct or if it would be worth trying to pay for another appraisal. A local agent can also tell you if you will have good or newer current comps that can be used in your refi.

You may have to wait until you have better comps or you may be out of luck. Looking at the numbers now, asking about local sales trends and talking to an agent may give you a better idea of what your chances of a refi are now or down the line.
  • December 18 2010
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Zillow is good when you are in an area with alot of data, like here in So Cal, not so good in rural areas.

Keep in mind Zillow does not take into effect ACTIVE or PENDING listings as appraisers do, nor the condition of not only YOUR home but the comparables used.

For instance, I just did an appraisal here in my area where the comparables for the house I did showed it was worth $1.0M. Zillow shows it as $1.0M also. The lender readjusted my $1.0M value to $950K citing a current listing of a model match nearby at $950K. Zillow does not show listings, but we as appraisers do factor these in.

Appraisals are intended to be more accurate and thorough, thats why lenders use appraisals and not Zillow. And if you were lending YOUR own money, you would want as thorough an estimate of value as possible to protect your investment.

To answer your question, though, you have two choices - (1) ask to talk to your appraiser and look at the appraisal as see if he/she missed anything, or see if there is any wiggle room, or (2) go with another lender.
  • December 18 2010
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Jimbo,
The Zestimate is a good, simple starting point, but there's a more effective way to use Zillow as a valuation tool.

1) Look up your home by typing in your address as usual.
2) Under "Refine Search" uncheck the "For Sale", "Make Me Move", and "For Rent" options
3) Input the number of beds and baths for your home (min&max)
4) Uncheck all but your "Home Type"
5) Uncheck all "Listing Type"s
6) From the dropdown select "Sold in Last" 90 days
7) Input the sq footage of your house (min&max)

This should leave you with some results that are sold comps in the past 90 days, i.e., the same kind of data used by an appraiser in forming his opinion of value. If you get no results, starting zooming out one click at a time in order to view an increasingly larger geo radius.

Hope this helps! Good luck on your refi.
  • December 18 2010
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Keep in mind, zillow uses a multitude of resources and based on zillow's databases, certain areas will see +/- 10% in values.  The appraised value by a licensed, seasoned and trained appraiser, is the most accurate method.  Best way to challenge the appraisal, is gathering data and facts of why you believe the value should be higher:  1) additional comparables/sales in the area, 2) accurate measurements and property characteristics could make a difference, 3) and improvements that could upgrade the overall condition of the property.... are a few items to focus on.
  • December 18 2010
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