What is the difference between a certified appraisal and a brokers market analysis or price opinion?
A certified appraisal is a formal, impartial estimate or opinion of value, usually written, of an adequately described property, as of a specific date, and supported by the presentation and analysis of relevant data. It is prepared as a result of a retainer, for reliance by identified parties, and for which the appraiser accepts responsibility. Only a state certified appraiser can provide a certified appraisal.
A comparative market analysis or brokers price opinion is an informal estimate of market value, based on comparable sales in the neighborhood, performed by a real estate agent or broker. You can do your own cost comparison by looking up recent sales of comparable properties in public records. These records are available at local recorder’s or assessor’s offices, through private companies or increasingly on the Internet through such sources as Domania or Yahoo etc.
The most important difference between a certified appraiser and broker or real estate sales agent is their motivation. A brokers typical goal is to obtain a listing and earn a commission. Although most brokers and agents are honest some might tell you what they think you want to hear. A certified appraiser is independent and has no axe to grind. They have no ulterior motives. Their only concern is to deliver a fair, accurate objective appraisal.