Real NEastate: A look back at Somerton house values

Real NEastate writer Stacey McCarthy is on vacation this week, so we’re running her column that appeared on this date last year. She’ll be back next week with all new real estate advice.

Q: I am trying to refinance my Somerton split-level home, and the bank appraised my home for much lower than I think it is worth. They are telling me it’s only worth $260,000, when I know for a fact there are houses like mine in the neighborhood selling for way higher. What exactly is the market value of my house?

A: The current average sold price for Somerton split-levels over the last four months is $265,000. That may seem shocking since there are homes, like yours, that are for sale for more than $300,000. In fact, the average “for-sale” price for a Somerton split-level is about $320,000 right now.

Appraisal values and market values do generally differ. What an appraiser would value your home at may be different than what a buyer would value your home at. Appraisers only look at what has sold to determine the “actual” value.

There are many factors that can affect your appraised value. For example:

  • Features: Appraisers and buyers alike consider location, condition and features. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you have? How updated is your home? How large is your yard? Are you on a small street or main highway?
  • Distressed Properties: There was a Somerton split-level that sold recently for $215,000 and, even though there were a couple that sold for more than $270,000, it still brought down the market average. It may have been a short sale, but the fact is, many appraisers will likely factor that home into their appraisal.

Appraisers try to only look for homes sold 3 months back. There are some recently sold comparables that may be low one month but higher the next. It could simply be a matter of timing.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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