When I studied in college, my management teacher would constantly remind us the answer was “It just depends”. This is a very wise statement that homeowners should take to heart when they go to place their home on the market, or have it appraised for a loan, or legal situation (divorce, death in the family, or bankruptcy) There are several key factors an appraiser must look at for an appraisal. If your home is the worst in the neighborhood done be surprised if it appraises lower than the last home that sold. A well educated appraiser will notice that your driveway is not concrete compared to every other home in the area, or that your windows are not replaced. (dual pane windows are now common and standard for most homes.) On that note, so will your potential buyers.
The market speaks and the market determines the value of your home. A well educated and trained appraiser will look at the quality of the construction, the condition of the property, the location of the property relative to the neighborhood and the overall market, and marketing factors.
One of my close friends said to me, I can’t figure out why we pay appraiser’s so much. He was in and out of my home in 15 minutes. As an appraiser I replied, appraisers ton of research, have to document everything they see, must prove how they get to their value, and then file and store documentation for the next 5 years regarding the appraisal. In addition, they have to drive in your area, take photos of the other homes, and possible interview agents or HOA’s. The real question should be, “are appraisers paid fairly?” Residential Appraisers have a license which means they are accountable to the State and pay huge insurance premiums to be bonded for the practice of appraisal.
So going back to value and the answer is “It just depends”. The value of a home just depends on many factors. An appraiser is paid to analyze those factors and provide homeowners a reasonable analysis that will lead to a “market value”. The market is exactly as stated. The current market, the market when your parent passed and you inherited their home, or the date that you and soon-to-be X spouse can agree on as the date for the analysis and a dissolution of marriage.
I live and work in the San Fernando Valley (Studio City, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, West Hollywood, Westchester, Encino, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, West Hills, Chatsworth, Lake Manor, Simi Valley, Calabasas, Bell Canyon, Agoura, and Thousand Oaks. I know your neighborhood, I know the crazy cul-de-sacs, and I know how important value is in delicate situations like a divorce, or for a retrospective appraisal.