High-Priced Listings Battle Against Low Appraisals

January 25, 2013

Real estate professionals of multimillion-dollar listings are increasingly finding the transaction more complicated by low appraisal values with properties not appraising for what the buyer and seller agreed to, The New York Times reports. 

“There are not enough good comps, and appraisals are coming in lower,” says Peter Grabel, a senior mortgage loan originator for the Luxury Mortgage Corp. in Stamford, Conn. 

Many lenders of “jumbo” mortgages above $625,500 require two appraisals on properties that are more than $2 million. If the appraised values are a big difference from one another, the lender may opt to take the lower of the two values, says Melissa Cohn, executive vice president of the Manhattan division of Guaranteed Rate. 

A low appraisal will greatly influence how much the buyer can borrow on the jumbo market.

While buyers can contest a low appraisal, lenders rarely change their minds, according to industry insiders. If a seller faces a low appraisal, Pamela Pagnani, a real estate lawyer in Greenwich, Conn., says it may be time to have a frank discussion with them. 

“You tell them, ‘You’re going to have the same problem with whatever buyer comes along, unless it’s all cash. So let’s negotiate it now,’” Pagnani says.

Source: “Appraising High-End Homes,” The New York Times (Jan. 24, 2013)

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