What's the Difference Between an Appraisal and a Comparative Market Analysis

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC La Broker 09995688826

Often client will ask for a property's value. As a Realtor we are not license or trained to appraise real estate. This post explains the difference between an Appraisal and a Comparative Market Analysis.

Original content by Ed Silva REB.0759001

What's the Difference Between an Appraisal and a Comparative Market Analysis


No proper real estate transaction can completed unless the true value of the house is determined. Most real estate agents will look into closed sales to use as a guide to reaching a Fair Market value for the subject property. This would be considered a Comparable Market Analysis, or CMA.

appraisal forms

In researching the CMA, like properties are selected, as close as possible to the subject property and normally no sales beyond 90-120 days. Adjustments are then made for differences in the properties using the subject home as the base and making dollar allowances up or down depending on the variables.

Allowances are normally made for square footage differences; lot size, number of bedrooms, baths, garages, pools and any item of substance that would carry a significant dollar differential. If the agent preparing the CMA uses enough comparative items, the Fair Market value of the house would be obtained and should provide a starting point for discussions with the seller of the house.

When a more accurate value is needed, such as for determining a homes' value for a mortgage, then a licensed appraisal is required. The appraiser will use many of the same base requirements, but unlike the real estate agent, they will go to the town records and research all sales that may not have been processed through conventional real estate channels.



Their evaluation sheets are far more detailed than the forms a real estate agent would use, and when reporting to a bank they will also do some additional checking for any property liens as well as building permits. The appraisal is considered the primary means to determine a real estate value and often this value cannot be challenged unless something was grossly misunderstood or overlooked.

Many real estate agents will prepare their CMA's with great accuracy and can come very close to the values as determined by an appraiser. Their research will also be as involved as the appraiser especially when working to verify the possibility of working on a short sale.

When a seller is looking for a reasonably good determination of value in order to sell a house, the CMA should suffice. It is often used to determine value in legal proceedings such as probate cases or divorces, provided all sides are in agreement.


For sellers it is essential to have a sales price on your home consistent with the most recent activity. We offer free market evaluations to assist you in your sale.

If you would like information on homes for sale in Central  CT please call me at 203-206-0754 or send me an email. I would be happy to assist you or to discuss homes on the market in Central CT.


What's the Difference Between an Appraisal and a Comparative Market Analysis


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Ed Silva  RE/MAX Professionals,  www.edwardsilva.com  203-206-0754

Comments (2)

Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

This is confusing for many sellers and they use the terms incorrectly. Have a good day Frank.

Sep 12, 2015 12:01 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is a very good selection for a re-blog.

Thanks for sharing.

Sep 23, 2015 09:46 PM

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