As part of the appraisal process, those relatively recently sold properties which will be compared to the subject property (the property being appraised) for the purpose of forming an opinion of value for the subject property. The facts and details of the comparable properties will be compared to those of the subject. In an urban setting, to be of credible assistance in this process, comparable sales must have the same use as the subject, have many similarities to the subject in terms of size of house, size of lot, construction, bedroom count, room count, floor plan, amenities, street traffic and be in the same neighborhood and have been sold in the recent past (preferably no more than six months) by way of an “arms length” transaction (i.e., not sold to a relative or friend and not sold due to a forced sale or distress sale) and be within one mile of the subject property. More liberal standards will apply for rural property and some suburban properties but the basic premise holds, the more similar the comparable sales are to the subject property, the more accurate the value assigned to the subject property will be. Lenders will often compensate for the less precise nature of rural appraised values by allowing only lower loan-to-value ratios than those in urban settings, usually 10% lower.
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