Disputing a Low Home Appraisal

You have just spent months thinking about your dream home, touring too many houses, placing multiple offers, and finally your offer has been accepted. With no issues during the home inspection, you’re just waiting on the appraisal. Then you get that dreaded update that the appraisal is low and the difference is too much to pay out of pocket…. What do you do?


When stakes are this high, it’s important to stay calm and assess your options. Whether buying, refinancing, or any other mortgage loan, with a Reconsideration of Value (ROV) you have the opportunity to appeal the appraisal by providing additional comparable sales for the appraiser to consider. While an ROV is not a guaranteed fix, with these tips you will stand a better chance at disputing a low home appraisal. 


Do you have a case?

Assessing whether you have a valid dispute is critical to saving your time and money. Begin by looking at the appraisal report in-depth, in particular the comparable sales. Were any renovations or updates taken into consideration? Are there any blatant errors? Were there any unexpected issues with the condition? Did comps sell over six months ago when recent sales are available? Is the subject’s market area stable? Are any comps significantly dissimilar? Does the appraiser discuss how they selected sales and made their adjustments? These are only a few of the potential questions you should be asking yourself when looking through the report. 


Once you’ve seen what the appraiser did, it’s time to hop onto your preferred real estate website and look at similar homes in the area. Ask yourself – did the appraiser use the best available sales and do these sales support the loan you are requesting? While at first glance it may seem like some comparables are not the best available, it’s important to note that having unique or uncommon characteristics may require the appraiser to use less desirable sales. For example, if your home is on a slab foundation in an area where most homes have basements, the appraiser may be required to use a significantly smaller house or a low sale if better comps on slabs are not available. 


Deciding if you have a case can be challenging especially for unique homes or market areas with few comparable sales. It may be best to navigate this process with an appraiser or real estate agent. If you think you have a case, the next step would be to reach out to your lender to begin the process.


How do I look for comparable sales?

When selecting comparable sales for the appraiser to consider, it’s essential that your comps are similar, sold within the past year, and sold on/before the day the appraiser inspected the home. Use the appraisal report as a guide for selecting comps as the appraiser will use similar adjustments if they decide to use the comps you selected. After adjustments, your comps need to support the loan amount.



Subject (YOU)

Comp #1

Comp #2


$165,000 (appraised)



















Bed / Bath

3 Beds 1.1 Baths

3 Beds 1.1 Baths

3 Beds 1.1 Baths

Gross Living Area

1284 sq ft

1109 sq ft

1255 sq ft

Basement Finish

948 sq ft

555 sq ft with ½ bath

300 sq ft


Stoop, patio, covered patio

Porch, patio

Stoop, patio, larger garage






In this simplified example – are these good comparable sales? Do they support a higher appraised value than $165,000?


Both of these potential comps are superior and sold for more than the appraised value. However, since comp #2 sold for significantly more than the appraised value, after adjustments it will support a higher appraised value unlike comp #1.


Selecting comparables can be difficult. Every market and every appraisal report is different. Providing good comparable sales is essential as the appraiser is not required to use them. 


I have good comps, now what?

If there have been any updates or renovations, it’s best to make a dated list with all improvements. While appraisers are typically good about noting any updating, things can get missed. The appraiser is typically only in your home for 15-30 minutes max and some updates may be difficult to identify upon visual inspection or hidden behind drywall. 


With your comps and list of improvements, it’s time to get the information to the lender. If everything goes well, the appraiser will consider your comps and increase the appraised value.


My appraisal is still low, what can I do?

Unless you believe there is fraud or bias, this unfortunately may be the end of the road. Depending on your situation, you may be able to seek a new lender/financing or you can try getting your own appraisal done; however, the lender is under no obligation to consider it. 


With so much uncertainty during the appraisal process, we at Wynn Appraisals want to help you. For only $150, we will look at your low appraisal and give our professional opinion. If we believe you have a good case to dispute the appraisal, we will also provide comparable sales - free of charge. With turnaround times of as little as 24 hours, reach out today to get started. Don’t let a low appraisal get in the way of your life!


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I told the appraiser I was getting a new roof next week but it’s not in the report?


A: If a new roof is not a condition of the appraisal, the appraiser is required to use what was present the day they inspected the property. You may be able to bring this up to your lender to get the appraisal marked “subject to” the installation of a new roof. In this scenario, the home is appraised as if the new roof is installed and the appraiser will have to return to the property to verify once it’s finished. 


Q: Why did my house not appraise when there were multiple offers?

A: The appraisal process is complex and every report/market is different. Since appraisers deal in historical data, markets with high appreciation/depreciation can cause market values to outpace recent sales resulting in an appraisal gap. Additionally, seller concessions can sometimes widen the gap further. 


Q: Why didn’t the appraiser use Becky’s house that sold 18 months ago? It sold for more than my appraisal. 


A: Appraisers try to use the most recent sales to provide a more accurate valuation. Unless there is a lack of relevant sales, appraisers will try to use sales from the past year. If the market area is appreciating or depreciation, the high adjustments will make an old comp less relevant. 


Have any questions? Let us know down below – we’d love to help!

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