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  Institute of Housing Technologies
Improving the Real Estate Information Network
Apples to Apples?
AVM's, Appraisals, & the Home Comparison Process
3,000 sqft, all one one level:
3,000 sqft, 2,000 sqft on the main level and 1,000 sqft on the upper level:
Does the size or square footage matter to this home buyer? 
Every day within the pages of the local MLS, house descriptions paint beautiful pictures for potential buyers to see, but often leave out the complete details of a home's characteristics. Comparisons based on part of the picture are pricing real estate every day. In order for the real estate comparison and valuation processes to function properly, the MLS must provide a complete picture of the property being offered for sale. Simple things, like the separation of above and below grade space can cause inaccurate home pricing. Little things, like detached bonus rooms over the garage that require you to leave the main living area to access the space, are included within the total finished square footage. Enclosed porches that only have a window air conditioner, are often compared equally to areas like kitchens and bathrooms, where apples to apples would NOT be considered a fair comparison. There are literally thousands of examples of spaces that should not be compared equally. But, the key to accurate home valuations is that the MLS provide complete property details; details that allow agents and appraisers to accurately compare and value residential properties. For housing prices to stabilize again, "details" are one key to success. very day within the pages of the local MLS, house descriptions paint beautiful pictures for potential buyers to see, but often leave out the complete details of a home's characteristics. Comparisons based on part of the picture are pricing real estate every day. In order for the real estate comparison and valuation processes to function properly, the MLS must provide a complete picture of the property being offered for sale. Simple things, like the separation of above and below grade space can cause inaccurate home pricing. Little things, like detached bonus rooms over the garage that require you to leave the main living area to access the space, are included within the total finished square footage. Enclosed porches that only have a window air conditioner, are often compared equally to areas like kitchens and bathrooms, where apples to apples would NOT be considered a fair comparison. There are literally thousands of examples of spaces that should not be compared equally. But, the key to accurate home valuations is that the MLS provide complete property details; details that allow agents and appraisers to accurately compare and value residential properties. For housing prices to stabilize again, "details" are one key to success.