Establishing a home’s market sales price is equally important to buyers, sellers, lenders and real estate professionals. To help transactions proceed quickly and efficiently, sales professionals and appraisers both utilize information from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The MLS is a professional member-based cooperative that contains a wealth of information including active listings, homes that have recently sold, tax roll data, historical data, and market trends such as how quickly homes are selling and how close they sell to the original listing prices.
Using this data, licensed real estate professionals prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) reports to help sellers choose a listing price for their homes and to help buyers make offers. The CMA is a consumer-facing report that includes recently sold homes and homes for sale that are most similar to the seller’s home in location, appearance, features, and general price range.
If the buyer is receiving financing through a bank, the bank will order an appraisal, using the same MLS data, but with some differences. A bank appraisal is performed by a licensed appraiser to determine market value. Comparable homes similar to those in a CMA are used to compare physical features, property tax records and recent solds to determine whether values are trending up or down.
In short, the CMA introduces consumers to the ever-changing marketplace of homes for sale and those properties that have recently sold. The appraisal determines market value for the bank so that the bank doesn’t lend too much money on a single property. Together, CMAs and appraisals help consumers buy and sell homes.