Welcome back to our “Ask the Appraiser” series. Once again, we’re joined by special guest and Pennsylvania State Certified Home Appraiser Laurie Allison to discuss another critical topic. This time, we’re covering how appraisers assess and adjust their valuation process for, particularly unique homes.

First, we’d like to remind you how appraisers determine the value to begin with. In short, appraisers look for comparable, previously sold properties (generally called “comps”) and then use the sales history for those properties to determine a fair value for the house in question. Appraisers therefore look for comps that have similar qualities to those found in the subject property.

If a home is especially unique, however, one could easily see how this process might become more difficult.

According to Laurie, the first step appraisers take in this situation is to look further back in time than they would for other properties as they search for comparable past sales.

“The fewer comps available, the wider the search an appraiser will conduct.”

Appraisers do still try to find homes within the same school district and that have a similar square footage, but may find it necessary to be more flexible in other aspects when looking for comps. The fewer comps available, the wider the search an appraiser will conduct. Sometimes, appraisers will need to ask their lender about the maximum distance they can travel if the home in question is distinctly unlike any other that has sold in the immediate vicinity for some time.

In short, appraising unique homes may be slightly more difficult, but it’s certainly not a job too large for an experienced appraiser like Laurie to handle.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.