Super lowball appraisal in Philly...$95,000 below price.

8 Replies

I'm selling a home in Philly, PA and the appraisal came back a hundred grand less then the contract price. The place is completely remodeled (tastefully), finished basement with full bath & wet bar, everything has been upgraded (like new construction).  It's immaculate with upgraded finishes.  The appraiser literally spent 5 mins in the property, didn't even turn the lights on.  Then called my agent and asked for supporting comps.  He was sent a two week old comp at $325.  That comp was outdated, no upgrades and in need complete remodeling to bring it up to the level of my place.  He was also sent an extensive list of all the upgrades made to my place.  He came back with the price being 5 grand lower than that comp! I literally laughed when I heard his price...then I cried!  The row next to me sold in 2017 for $330 and had a contractor grade renovation and not nearly all the upgrades as this.  

I googled the appraiser and it turns out he has a bunch of bad reviews claiming he's done this numerous times before.  I only wish I had know before hand so I could request they use someone else.  

This deal will head south fast if I can't come up with some support that is appraisal is flawed or convince the buyers to go with another lender.   I've asked my agent to tell the buyers agent I won't negotiate at that number, until we review the appraisal report.  

Someone mentioned to me "holding the paper" on the home and getting the cash later from the buyer.  I'm not sure what that is just yet and if it's a viable option.  

So we're waiting for the report.  In the meantime, can anyone offer some any advice?  

I this deal dead?   


@Paul Ortiz , you could pay for your own appraisal to get an independent POV. The buyer should speak with their lender as well and express their displeasure. $100k is a huge gap, but if the comps are in the $325k range and you're trying to get $425, that may not fly with any appraiser.

Thanks for the reply Jaysen.  We're all still waiting for the actual report.  The comps are in that price range, but they are with no upgrades.  This place has been completely upgraded.  

Originally posted by @Paul Ortiz :

Thanks for the reply Jaysen.  We're all still waiting for the actual report.  The comps are in that price range, but they are with no upgrades.  This place has been completely upgraded.  

Keep in mind, if bed/bath, SF and location are all the same, fancy finishes won’t drive a $325k house up to over $400k. Did your realtor send over $400k+ comparables, it was hard to figure that out from your post.

I have had low appraisals. Both times we met in the middle but closer to my number ($320k contract, $295k appraisal and we agreed to $310k), ($241.5k contract, $215k appraisal, agreed to $238k). Yours is obviously a much larger challenge, but both your agent and your buyers agent should be helping to fix this.

I get that Brian.  The comps in the area were kind of low, but not truly comps.  They were way smaller in square footage/ bathrooms and had no finished basement and had old/no upgrades at all.  I'm talking about substantial upgrades, for instance:  40 yr old radiators & old furnaces with window A/C units, compared to my new 90% efficiency furnace, new a/c compressor and all new ductwork.  I was given no value add even for that.  It is a beautifully renovated and unique property (built around 1940), there was nothing in the area like it, unless you went to brand new construction, which is starting in the mid-500's. 

As it turns out, the original contract fell apart, but then, the same buyers came back January 1st with a larger cash offering. Still not enough for my bottom line, so I didn't go with the deal. So I continued waiting for the 60 day MLS time to lapse to relist in February as a new listing. The original buyers came back again, a week before I was going to relist, with the lender going higher on the appraisal/mortgage commitment and them putting in much more cash for the difference, which finally hit my number. So the deal went back on. They literally fell in love with the design/finishes and could not find anything they liked more in that price range. In the end, the upgrades and higher end finishes ended up getting their value.

As it turns out, that experience was a cakewalk compared to what I dealt with after the title search revealed there was an IRS lien for quarter of a million dollars, from the previous, deceased owner.  That was way more stressful to deal with, but after much bureaucratic drama, I finally got it worked out.  On the upside, I lost about 10.lbs after going through that and have acquired some very specialized knowledge dealing with IRS tax liens.  So glad this deal is done!  I'm really looking forward to moving on.