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Real estate Q&A: Should Buyer Kick in Extra Money if Appraisal Falls Short?

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By Gary M. Singer

(MCT)—Q: We are trying to buy a home and found one listed at $324,000. The appraisal came back at $300,000, but the seller wants $310,000. So we’d have to come up with the $10,000 at closing. Does it make sense to kick in the extra cash?
—Andrew

A: An appraisal will indicate the best estimate that the appraiser can come up with as to the market value of the house in question. Different appraisers can look at similar data and come to different conclusions. While an appraisal is a good indication of the market value of the property, it’s not the definitive answer of the actual price that it will sell for, or the actual value of the property to any particular individual. For example, a modern art painting that may be worth $1 million to an aficionado might not be worth the price of its frame to me.

So the answer to your question comes down to this: Do you love the home, can you afford the $10,000, and do you plan to stay there for five years or more? If so, then it’s probably a good investment. That’s a relatively small amount of money if this is your dream home.

But if you’re only lukewarm about this property or you plan to live there for only a few years, then it may not make sense to buy it.

What’s important is that you buy something you really like—and not just settle because you’re sick of looking.

©2013 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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