What is a Comparative Market Analysis in real estate

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) in real estate is a report that estimates the value of a property by comparing it to similar properties that have recently sold or are currently listed for sale in the same area. The CMA is typically prepared by a licensed real estate agent or broker and is used to help sellers set a listing price for their property and to help buyers make informed offers.

A CMA typically includes the following information:

  • A list of comparable properties (comps) that have recently sold or are currently listed for sale in the same area
  • The sale prices and other relevant details of the comps, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and lot size
  • An analysis of the similarities and differences between the subject property and the comps
  • An estimated value of the subject property based on the analysis of the comps

The CMA is a useful tool for real estate agents and brokers because it helps them to:

  • Determine a fair and competitive listing price for a property
  • Identify potential buyers and their price ranges
  • Negotiate the best possible price for a buyer
  • Provide valuable information to clients about the local real estate market

Here are some key points to consider when it comes to CMAs:

  • A CMA is not an appraisal, which is a more formal and detailed evaluation of a property’s value.
  • A CMA is typically prepared by a real estate agent or broker, while an appraisal is typically prepared by a licensed appraiser.
  • A CMA is based on recent sales data and market trends, while an appraisal is based on a physical inspection of the property and a review of its condition.
  • A CMA is usually less expensive than an appraisal, but it may not be as detailed or comprehensive.

Accuracy of property AVM

The accuracy of Property Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) is a crucial aspect of the real estate industry. AVMs are designed to estimate the value of a property based on various data points, including historical sales data, property characteristics, and market conditions. While AVMs have improved significantly over the years, their accuracy can vary depending on several factors.

Challenges in AVM Accuracy

  • Data Quality: AVMs rely heavily on data accuracy and completeness. Inaccurate or outdated data can lead to flawed estimates.
  • Unique Property Features: AVMs may struggle to account for unique or non-standard features of a property that can significantly impact its value.
  • Local Market Conditions: AVMs may not fully capture local market conditions, such as changes in supply and demand, which can affect property values.
  • Lack of Human Judgment: AVMs are based on statistical models and may not consider human judgment and expertise in property valuation.

Measuring AVM Accuracy

AVM accuracy can be measured using various metrics, including:

  • Hit Rate: The percentage of properties for which the AVM finds a match in its database.
  • Record Count: The total number of properties the AVM has data for.
  • Mean Error: The average difference between the AVM’s estimate and the selling price.
  • Accuracy Rate: The percentage of valuations that fall within a specific range (e.g., 5%) of the selling price.


While AVMs have improved significantly, their accuracy can vary depending on the data quality, unique property features, local market conditions, and lack of human judgment. Industry-leading AVM providers, such as HouseCanary, have achieved exceptional accuracy ratings, but it is essential to consider these limitations when using AVMs for property valuation.

Zestimate Accuracy From Their Website:

How accurate is the Zestimate?

The nationwide median error rate for the Zestimate for on-market homes is 2.4%, while the Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.49%.

The Zestimate’s accuracy depends on the availability of data in a home’s area. Some areas have more detailed home information available — such as square footage and number of bedrooms or bathrooms — and others do not. The more data available, the more accurate the Zestimate value will be.

Link to Zillow post talking about accuracy along with tables for major metro areas.


If you are thinking of selling and would like to dial in your home’s value in today’s market let me know and I will prepare a Comparative Market Analysis for you.

What is my Home Worth

What is a property Automated Valuation Model (AVM)

An Automated Valuation Model is a software-based tool that uses statistical modeling and a database of existing properties and transactions to calculate the value of a residential or commercial property. It is similar to a real estate agent’s comparative market analysis (CMA), which compares the values of similar properties at the same time.

However, unlike a CMA, an AVM uses data provided by the user, as well as existing data, to automate and streamline the process, and the results are only as good as the data available.

How does it work?

An AVM uses a wide array of publicly-available and user-submitted data, such as property type, size, general location, and comparable sales data (when available), to provide an immediate value estimate. This data is then analyzed using mathematical or statistical modeling and a combination of existing databases to estimate property value.

Types of AVMs

There are two main types of AVMs: Comparables Based AVMs and Hedonic Models.

  • Comparables Based AVMs select comparables for each individual valuation based on the characteristics of the property to be valued. They operate similarly to how an appraiser would work when valuing properties through the sales comparison approach.
  • Hedonic Models try to isolate the impact of individual property characteristics in the form of pre-calculated parameters. They do not select comparables based on the individual property to be valued, and the valuation result cannot be traced.

Advantages and Limitations

AVMs have several advantages, including:

  • Time-saving: AVMs can provide an estimate of a property’s value in a matter of seconds, without the need for manual effort.
  • Objective: AVMs are objective, as they are based on data, which increases the accuracy and reliability of the valuation.
  • Cost-effective: AVMs can be more cost-effective than traditional appraisal methods.

However, AVMs also have some limitations, including:

  • Limited data: AVMs are only as accurate as the data available, and may not take into account unique property characteristics or local market conditions.
  • Inaccurate estimates: AVMs may produce inaccurate estimates if the data is outdated, incomplete, or incorrect.
  • Lack of physical inspection: AVMs do not consider the condition of the property when estimating its market value, which may not be entirely accurate.

Overall, AVMs are a valuable tool for real estate professionals, investors, and lenders, providing a quick and cost-effective way to estimate the value of a property.

Hi folks,
If you are going to be selling your home in the near future or are just curious about its value in today’s market, give me a call or use the button below. I will email you a comprehensive market analysis of your home. There is no obligation on your part and it is totally free.

My phone number is 760.476.9560.

What is my Home Worth

Not ready to move yet but want to keep an eye on your homes value, I have a monthly update that is customized to your home and neighborhood. Click the link below to see what is included in the report and to sign up:

Monthly Update

Title Insurance: 2 Types

Your closing costs might include two types of title insurance policies, but do you know how these policies differ?

Loan Policy

Your lender requires title insurance when you secure a mortgage. A loan or lender’s policy protects the bank or lending institution for as long as they maintain an interest in your property—typically until your mortgage is paid off. If you refinance your loan, you’ll need to purchase a new policy to cover the new loan.

Owner’s Policy

An owner’s policy of title insurance helps protect your rights as the homeowner for as long as you or your heirs own the property. In some areas, it’s standard for the seller to purchase the owner’s policy for the buyer, whereas in other areas the owner’s policy is a recommended buyer purchase.

So what exactly is “Title Insurance?”

So what exactly is “title insurance?” Well, when a property is financed, bought or sold, a record of that transaction is generally filed in public archives. Likewise, records of other events that may affect the ownership of a property, like liens or levies, are also archived.

When you buy title insurance for your property, a title company searches these records to find – and remedy, if possible – several types of ownership issues. First, the title company searches public records to determine the property’s ownership status. After this search, the underwriter will determine the insurability of the title.

Even the most skilled title professionals may not find all problems associated with a property, though. Some risks, such as title issues due to filing errors, forgeries, or undisclosed heirs, are difficult to identify. So after the title company finishes its searching, it also provides a title insurance policy that will help protect you from a variety of issues that might be uncovered later.

What is mortgage insurance?

A: Private mortgage insurance (PMI) policy held by your lender which indemnifies them is an insurance against losses on their investment in your mortgage when you default.

PMI is not property insurance covering hazards to its improvements, a policy also required by the mortgage lender.

Typically, mortgages insured by PMI are covered for losses on amounts exceeding 67% of the property’s value at the time the mortgage is originated.

PMI is required as a condition for funding a mortgage when your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price. Before your mortgage is funded, you will undergo an in-depth risk analysis based on the PMI insurer’s eligibility requirements.

The PMI investigation and documentation takes place after you submit a mortgage application. It is generally limited to verification of your representations on the application.

Your PMI premiums are typically paid through your monthly mortgage payments. However, some lenders and PMI insurers offer a lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI) program.

When offered by the PMI insurer, your lender pays the mortgage insurance premium and passes the cost on to you as a higher interest rate on your mortgage. However, LPMI cannot be cancelled, while borrower-paid PMI may be cancelled or automatically terminated.

LPMI only terminates upon a refinance or other total payoff of your mortgage.

Premium rates are set as a percentage of your mortgage balance and are calculated in the same manner as interest.

PMI coverage may be terminated when the equity in your property reaches 20% of its value at the time the mortgage was originated. Once the equity in your property reaches 22% of its value, PMI is automatically cancelled.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgages are also available for homebuyers with little cash available for a down payment.

To qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage, you are required to make a minimum down payment of 3.5%.

When you obtain an FHA-insured mortgage, you pay a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) to the FHA. An upfront MIP is added to the principal amount financed in addition to the charge at the annual MIP rate, which is added to your monthly principal and interest payments, similar to PMI.

However, the MIP remains in place, paid monthly for the life of the FHA insured mortgage.

If you default on an FHA-insured mortgage, the FHA covers your lender against any loss on the balance of your mortgage. However, you remain personally liable to the FHA for any loss the FHA suffers as a result of your default.

Your home sale could trigger capital gains taxes. Here’s how to calculate your bill

  • More home sellers now owe capital gains taxes after selling their primary residence, but it is possible to reduce the bill.
  • There are no taxes on the first $250,000 of profit if you are single, or $500,000 for married couples filing jointly, assuming you meet IRS rules.
  • You can lower profits above those thresholds by adding to your home’s “basis,” or original purchase price, with closing costs and eligible improvements.

There are strict IRS rules to qualify for the $250,000 or $500,000 exemptions. Any profit above those limits is subject to capital gains taxes, levied at 0%, 15% or 20%, based on your earnings.

“It is important to track your cost basis of the home,” which is your original purchase price plus closing costs from the purchase, according to Thomas Scanlon, a certified financial planner at Raymond James in Manchester, Connecticut.

You can reduce your home sale profit by adding often-forgotten costs and fees to your basis, which minimizes your capital gains tax liability.

For example, you can start by tacking on fees and closing costs from the purchase and sale of the home, according to the IRS. These may include:

  • Title fees
  • Charges for utility installation
  • Legal and recording fees
  • Surveys
  • Transfer taxes
  • Title insurance
  • Balances owed by the seller

These could be small amounts individually but have a significant effect on the basis when tallied.

The average closing cost nationwide is $4,243, according to a report from Assurance, but fees vary widely. In the priciest state, New York, the average is $8,039, while California is a close second at $8,028.

“You also get credit for the expenses for the sale of the property,” added Scanlon, who is also a certified public accountant. That includes your real estate commissions and closing costs.

However, there are some fees and closing costs you cannot add to your basis, such as home insurance premiums or rent or utilities paid before your closing date, according to the IRS.

Similarly, loan charges such as points, mortgage insurance premiums, the cost to pull your credit report or appraisals required by your lender will not count.

Original Article

Why Be Pre-Approved For a Home Loan?

Real estate experts tell first-time home buyers that it’s critical to apply for a loan before shopping for a home, and it’s true; this is an essential first step.

But do you know that it’s far better to be Pre-Approved for a loan than to be Pre-Qualified?

There are advantages to gaining Pre-Approved. When the lender hands a borrower a Pre-Approved letter, it means the borrower can:

Save Time by Looking at the Right Homes
When searching for homes you can set the parameters to more tightly encompass the selection of homes that you are qualified to buy. This way, you’ll save time by checking out homes you can actually afford to buy instead of falling in love with pie in the sky.

Spend More Time Examining the Right Homes
By decreasing the inventory of homes to those that fit your parameters, you can allot more time to thinking about all the little nuances each home has to offer. Lots of home buyers never move past the price point when sorting out their preferences, but now you can devote your energies to looking at the little things that matter to you most such as whether your SUV will pass through the overhead space in the garage or smash into the microbeam.

Gain Confidence & Avoid Disillusionment
Now when you find that perfect home, nobody can take it away from you by telling you that you do not qualify to buy it.

You can minimize anxiety and remove last-minute loan surprises that could disqualify you.
You’ll sleep better at night knowing that the home you selected is yours.

Increase Bargaining & Negotiating Power
In today’s market, sellers are increasingly demanding Pre-Approval letters from buyers and by having yours done up front you can get your offer in quickly.

Enjoy a Faster Closing Period
Because there is no window period while your loan application is processed, the lender can speed up the entire processing procedure. Appraisals can be ordered immediately. It’s possible to shorten a 30-day closing to two or three weeks, which comes in handy if a seller needs to quickly move and can’t decide which offer to accept. Yours will move to the front if you can accomplish the seller’s need to quickly close.

Because mortgage approval is generally the longest contingency to satisfy in a purchase contract, it is to your advantage to obtain a Pre-Approval letter as soon as you’re ready to begin your search. Lenders will render a decision based on your complete loan application, employment verification and data from all three credit reports.

Being pre-Approved is a pretty easy process and only takes 60 minutes or so of your time. I work with a lender who can complete a variety of loans, depending on your qualifications. Please call me for more info.

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Who is responsible for boundary fences and trees?

A: Most properties have three property lines setting the common boundaries with adjacent properties owned by others. A fourth property line usually sets the frontage on a public right of way, such as a street.

The location of the common property lines is typically represented by common boundary improvements such as shrubbery or trees. When setting up, maintaining or removing common boundary improvements, the
adjacent property owners’ rights depend on the type of improvement.

Common boundary improvements, other than trees, located on a property line between adjacent properties are called party walls. Types of party walls

• boundary fences;
• driveways; and
• ditches.

Owners of adjoining properties are presumed to benefit equally from boundary fences. Under this legal presumption, all adjoining owners are equally responsible for constructing, maintaining and replacing
boundary fences.

The responsibility for constructing, maintaining or replacing boundary fences may be altered or removed only by:

• a written agreement between all affected owners; or
• an adjoining owner’s judicial petition to remove or alter their responsibility.

When trees mark a common boundary, each tree’s ownership is determined by the location of its trunk. Solely owned trees belong to the owner of the property on which the entire trunk is growing. Trees growing on government-owned parcels, such as a right of way for streets and sidewalks, belong to the local government, and thus the government is responsible for maintenance.

However, shrubbery or trees whose trunks stand partly on the land of two adjacent property owners belong to both adjacent owners. These trees are called line trees or common boundary trees.

Similar to maintaining a boundary fence, adjacent owners who own line trees are jointly responsible for maintaining the trees and, unless they agree to an alternate arrangement, share equal costs. To avoid disputes, adjacent property owners need to consider entering into an agreement detailing how they will handle the maintenance of boundary trees.