Navigating the Appraisal Process: What to Do When the Value Falls Short

Navigating the Appraisal Process: What to Do When the Value Falls Short

In the world of real estate, surprises can come in various forms. One such surprise that homeowners and buyers may encounter is when the appraised value of a property falls short of the agreed-upon purchase price. This situation can leave both parties wondering about their next steps. In this blog post, we'll dive into the appraisal process and explore what you can do if you find yourself facing a similar scenario.

Understanding the Appraisal Process: Before we delve into potential solutions, let's first understand what an appraisal is and why it's a crucial step in real estate transactions.

An appraisal is an independent assessment of a property's value conducted by a licensed appraiser. Lenders require appraisals to ensure that the property's value is sufficient to support the loan amount. Here's a simplified breakdown of the appraisal process:

  1. Selection of the Appraiser: The lender typically selects a qualified appraiser through an independent 3rd party,  who is knowledgeable about the local real estate market.
  2. Property Inspection: The appraiser visits the property to assess its condition, size, features, and any recent renovations or upgrades.
  3. Comparative Analysis: The appraiser analyzes recent sales of similar properties in the area, known as comparables or "comps." This helps determine the property's market value.  The appraiser will also include an estimate of what it would cost to build the property from the ground up.
  4. Appraisal Report: The appraiser compiles their findings into a detailed report that includes the property's appraised value and submits that to the lender, who in turn should share that report with the Buyer.

What If the Appraisal Comes in Low? Now, let's address the situation when the appraised value falls short of the agreed purchase price. It's essential to remember that this discrepancy can pose challenges for both buyers and sellers. Here's what you can do:

For Sellers:

  1. Reevaluate Your Options: If the appraisal comes in significantly lower than the agreed-upon price, you may need to reconsider your selling price.
  2. Negotiate: Speak with your real estate agent about negotiating with the buyer.  There are many options to consider, but most often Buyers and Sellers will agree to a new reduced price with the Buyer bringing additional funds settlement to cover the difference or the Seller offering a Seller credit to cover the difference.
  3. Request a Reappraisal: In some cases, the initial appraisal may be inaccurate. If you believe the appraisal is too low, you can request a second appraisal. However, this can be time consuming and may not guarantee a higher value.

For Buyers:

  1. Renegotiate: If you're the buyer and the appraisal comes in low, you can use it as leverage to renegotiate the purchase price with the seller.
  2. Bring More Cash: Buyers who still want to proceed with the purchase may choose to bring additional cash to cover the shortfall between the appraised value and the purchase price.
  3. Walk Away: In some cases, if the appraisal is significantly lower and renegotiation isn't possible or reasonable, buyers may decide to terminate the deal and explore other options.

Conclusion: The appraisal process is an essential component of any real estate transaction, providing an unbiased assessment of a property's value. If you encounter a situation where the appraisal falls short of the agreed-upon price, it's crucial to work closely with your real estate agent to explore your options and make informed decisions. Real estate transactions can be complex, but with the right guidance, you can navigate unexpected challenges and find the best solution for your situation.

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