Assessments/Appraisals - What's the Difference?

Real Estate Sales Representative with Fieldstone Real Estate

There is a difference between "appraisals" and "assessments" although the words are commonly used interchangeably. A educated consumer knows the differences:


  • Completed using an automated valuation program.
  • Generally done once per year.
  • Used to determine real estate taxes.
  • Should be within a margin of error of +/- 10%.


  • Done by licensed appraiser who looks at the home, and comps.
  • Values property "real time" (as of the date of the report).
  • Used to support sales prices or loan amounts.
  • Should be as close to Fair Market Value as possible.

Fair Market Value is what a willing buyer will pay for a property of a willing seller in an arms length transaction. Fair Market Value is determined SOLELY by the buyer and seller, and will be reflective of the market conditions. If a seller is stuck on obtaining an unrealistic price for their property, it will not sell. If a buyer is stuck on purchasing below reasonable values for the market conditions, then he will not buy. When these two parties meet in the middle they will find Fair Market Value, and each will accomplish his goals.

Appraisals are often part of the sales process, but usually after a price has been agreed to between buyer and seller... appraisals attempt to support the price of the purchase so that financing can be obtained. Assessments are not part of the equation, except when the purchaser attempts to estimate his costs to own the home, and he is determining the taxes due for the property.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Everard Korthals 01/01/2009 02:11 AM
  2. Will Nesbitt 08/22/2009 11:28 PM
Real Estate Market Trends
real estate values
fair market values
real estate sales

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Thanks much. This is valuable information for home buyers and sellers.

Aug 22, 2009 11:28 PM #1
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Vicky Chrisner

Ask me a question

Additional Information