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Whether you are buying a home on Staten Island or selling a home on Staten Island, a lot of factors go into real estate transactions. Even a proper appraisal of fair market value is no simple matter.

Well-known websites such as Zillow or Trulia have a terrible error rate historically, usually between 18-32%, when generating home values through their online systems. Recent improvements are decreasing the error rates, but even on Zillow’s own site, the following disclaimer is included: “the Zestimate isn’t intended to replace a real estate professional’s opinion of value.”

That is my advice as well. It’s certainly not worth the risk to use the fair market appraisal for residential real estate you find online. And official reports by assessors for tax purposes rely on solid methodology, but the data therein is often dated and therefore limited in usefulness, as well.

The bottom line is that you need an experienced, licensed real estate agent when making a real estate transaction. In Staten Island, fortunately, we have no shortage.

What will a licensed Staten Island real estate agent do for you?

  • Provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) which will analyze what similar homes sold for during the past few months in your Staten Island neighborhood.
  • Determine which way residential real estate prices are trending (using the CMA and their own experiences).
  • Inform you how long comparable homes stayed on the Staten Island market and if they were affected by external factors like extreme winter weather.
  • Help you understand how contract terms and conditions impact the bottom lines of buyers and sellers (although you’ll certainly want a Staten Island real estate attorney for this, too!).

Improper appraisals torpedo many home sales. Low appraisals, in particular, are a problem, because they lead to canceled contract sales when lenders won’t approve a mortgage for more than this new, appraised value (i.e., a lower value than the agreed upon purchase price). According to the National Association of Realtors, 10% of real estate agents report that a low appraisal had caused a deal to collapse during the past month.

That adds up. How can you avoid this fate?: A few tips to help make sure your appraisal process is as effective as possible can be found here.

You will need to undertake many steps when making a real estate transaction in Staten Island. Title searches, mortgages, contract negotiation: these will all become well-known topics. Getting an appropriate bank appraisal on the property is essential, too.

As your Staten Island real estate attorney, I can help. Let me know how today…



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This information, based on New York law, was provided courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher J. Arrigali, P.C.  It is intended to inform, not to advise. No one should try to interpret or apply any law without the assistance of legal counsel. Please click here for the full disclaimer.

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