How to Write a Comparative Market Analysis

Real Estate Agent with Remax First Realty II 0790808

There are many formulas that claim to provide a fair market value of a home. As in many things, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Here's how we write a CMA.

We'll use a 4 bedroom 2 bath split level home as an example. 

  1. The first thing we do is go to the MLS and run a report on the sold comps (within the last 12 months) in the same town.  We search for 4 bed, 2 bath split level houses in the same zip code or town.  If we only get a few comps, we'll search for other style homes, such as colonials and/or Cape Cods.  Once we get 8 to 12 usuable comps, we'll make side by side comparisons and come up with a rough average.  It's really important to only use sold homes and to only compare apples to apples, not oranges!
  2. The next step for us is to do a Tax Analysis.  This takes the tax assesed value of the comps and the land and compares it to the sold price.  We use an Excel Spreadsheet to do this. For example a similar home has a land assessment of $84,900 and a building assessment of $85,400 for a total assessed value of $170,300.  That same house sold a few months back, for $338,780, for an assessed value to market value ratio of 1.99.  We then plug in the rest of the comps and and compute the average ratio of the comps.  The last line of the spreadsheet is for the subject home that the CMA is for.  We plug in the assessed values and multiply the total by the average ratio and it comes up with "sale price".  This method does not take into account condition, location or anything else, therefore on some occassions it produces results that are too high or too low, but it does offer some real statistical analysis of the potential sale price.
  3. The third part of our CMA is the National Association of Realtors  Realtor Property Resource tool.  If you haven't used it yet, visit  You can plug in the address of the subject property select Comp Analysis.  Once again, it's critical to only compare sold properties that are similar in size!   The great part about this tool is that you can make adjustments to each comp.  There is s slider bar on each one, labeled: How Does This Property Compare To The Subject? The slider has 9 positions going from Worse to Better with the middle position being Same.  By using this tool we're able to compare a home that has a new kitchen to one with an older kitchen by adjusting the slider.  It works great.  After all the adjustments are made the RPR will give you a value for the subject home.  

    We include all three of these methods, including a Seller's Report from RPR when we present our CMA to our Sellers.  We will usually average the 3 numbers together to come up with a suggested list price. 

    However we always reccommend that our sellers have an appraisal done before listing.  We even offer to pay for the appraisal if they list it within a certain dollar amount of the appraisal.  But that's another blog...  


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~ Wayne & Jean 

Union County, NJ - a great place to live and work!

If you're looking to buy or sell a property in Union County, call us at 908-917-4189 or email


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Comments (8)

Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Team Zuhl, this sounds like a great way to come up a very accurate value. I haven't tried the NAR tool yet, thanks for mentioning it.

Jul 02, 2014 09:13 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

That's a very thorough price analysis, Wayne and Jean. Sellers can be confident that you are presenting a true picture of their home's value.

Jul 02, 2014 09:50 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Wayne and Jean, You do a very good job of pricing. This has to really help sellers come to a lisitng price.

Jul 02, 2014 11:04 PM
IRMA Beltran
Century 21 M & M and Associates-Turlock homes Real Estate - Turlock, CA
Your Real Estate Agent 4 Life Always there 4 You!

Very informative blog, thank you for sharing.

Have a Blessed Day!!!!

Jul 03, 2014 04:10 AM
Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

My firm Annie Mac Home MOrtgage offers free coursed on writing CMAs as part of our sponsored curriculum.

Jul 03, 2014 07:22 AM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Home owners in your area should list their homes with you when they want to sell.

Jul 03, 2014 10:09 PM
Steve Ewing - Keller Williams Realty
Keller Williams - Stockton, CA

When I walk the farm I carry an abbreviated version of a CMA just using bedroom counts.  People ask me what their property is worth so I give them a "rough ballpark" number and offer to do a much more detailed version for them.  I have found this a good way to "feed" my database.  Thanks for the blog.

Jul 04, 2014 11:35 AM
Victoria Beveridge
Tiger Town Realty - Baton Rouge, LA
Making Dreams Come True!

Excellent information! I can't tell you how helpful this is!

Oct 17, 2014 01:11 AM