Providing comparables for an appraiser

Real Estate Agents will often provide appraisers with comparables for their property, but these comparables can often not be used because they are not within the required parameters. Knowing these parameters and providing the appraiser with comparables that meet the requirements will let the appraiser know that you understand what properties are comparable and which are not.

Appraisers are an unbiased third party who is educated and knowledgeable of the market and neighborhood he is appraising. He is hired to provide an honest unbiased opinion of market value for a property. All other parties involved have a vested interest in what the value of the home is and therefore sometimes the appraiser has to determine if the comparables he is provided are truly the best comparables or just the highest priced sales in the neighborhood.

There are some very simple things you can do to be sure you provide the best available comparables for your property increasing the chances that the appraiser will use the comparables you provide.

Appraisers must always verify comparable sales provided to them, they cannot immediately use them as comparables. Properties that have recently sold around the subject property do not automatically make them a comparable, they must be similar in many aspects for it to be considered a comparable. So before giving an appraiser properties that only meet the value you are looking for make sure you verify that they are similar properties. To do this there are a few things you can look for in a true comparable.

First of all, you should not search for comparables based on a price. You may find properties that are selling for the value you want however they might not be considered a comparable.

Alternatively, search for criteria that brackets the physical characteristics of the property. Selecting recent properties in the same neighborhood as the subject is a good starting point. This will assure that the comparables are in the same city and school district, which can drastically change the value of a home.  Next include parameters for sales that are within a range from slightly larger to slightly smaller than the subject.

Once the square footage is considered you should then find properties with other similar features such as bedrooms, bathrooms, pool, enclosed patio, guest house, condition, etc. Comparing a home with a guest house to a property without a guest house would not provide an accurate value because a guest house adds additional value to a property. So be sure to find comparable sales that have similar amenities.

Before sending sales to the appraiser consider if you would provide them to your client. This simple question can help you find quality comparables to send to the appraiser.  Often times agents will try to find the highest listed homes to provide the appraiser and forget to consider where they are located. Comparables from competing neighborhoods usually can not be used in an appraisal. This is due to the school systems, style of homes, municipality, and the range in price.

Another important thing to consider before sending the comparables off to the appraiser is if they are recent sales. Selecting sales that are more recent will provide a more accurate value so you can be sure this is also what the appraiser is looking for. A lot can happen in 12 months such as a decline in the market or an increase in inventory. Comparables that have sold within 6 months of your sale will provide a more accurate value and the appraiser will be more likely to use them as comparables in the appraisal.

Overall these few tips should help you provide better comparables to the appraiser and make it more likely that they will be used in the appraisal report.  


Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule your appraisal appointment at 760-741-7699, or use our contact page on our website.

Brandlin Appraisals Inc. specialize in helping people who need appraisals for estate purposes, divorce, date of death, bankruptcy, FSBO’s and more throughout San Diego county. For more information please contact us at (760)741-7699, or visit our website at, or email us at

Mike Brandlin
San Diego, CA // Real Estate Appraiser
(760) 741-7699

San Diego Real Estate Appraisal Services For:
Divorce Appraisals / Marriage Dissolution
Bankruptcy Appraisals
Bail Bonds Appraisals
Estate / Date of Death / Retrospective Appraisals
Financial Planning & Trusts
PMI Removal Appraisals
Pre-Foreclosure & Short Sales
Tax Assessment Appeals
Pre-Listing, Pre-Purchase, FSBO’s
Probate Appraisals

Comments are closed.