Selling Guide

Published August 29, 2017

B4-1.3-09: Adjustments to Comparable Sales (01/31/2017)

This topic contains details on selected adjustments to the comparable sales, including:

Analysis of Adjustments

Fannie Mae does not have specific limitations or guidelines associated with net or gross adjustments. The number and/or amount of the dollar adjustments must not be the sole determinant in the acceptability of a comparable. Ideally, the best and most appropriate comparable would require no adjustment; however this is rarely the case as typically no two properties or transaction details are identical. The appraiser’s adjustments must reflect the market’s reaction (that is, market based adjustments) to the difference in the properties. For example, it would be inappropriate for an appraiser to provide a $20 per square foot adjustment for the difference in the gross living area based on a rule-of-thumb when market analysis indicates the adjustment should be $100 per square foot.  The expectation is for the appraiser to analyze the market for competitive properties and provide appropriate market based adjustments without regard to arbitrary limits on the size of the adjustment.

If the extent of the appraiser’s adjustments to the comparable sales is great enough to indicate that the property may not conform to the neighborhood, the underwriter must determine if the opinion of value is adequately supported. (For further information regarding comparable selection, see B4-1.3-08, Comparable Sales.)

When there are no truly comparable sales for a particular property because of the uniqueness of the property or other conditions, the appraiser must select sales that represent the best indicators of value for the subject property and make adjustments to reflect the actions of typical purchasers in that market.

Sales or Financing Concessions

Comparable sales that include sales or financing concessions must be adjusted to reflect the impact, if any, on the sales price of the comparables based on the market at the time of sale. For information related to sales or financing concessions for the subject transaction, see B3-4.1-02, Interested Party Contributions (IPCs).

Examples of sales or financing concessions include:

  • interest rate buydowns or other below-market rate financing;

  • loan discount points;

  • loan origination fees;

  • closing costs customarily paid by the buyer;

  • payment of condo, co-op, or PUD fees or assessment charges;

  • refunds of (or credit for) the borrower’s expenses;

  • absorption of monthly payments;

  • assignment of rent payments; and

  • inclusion of non-realty items in the transaction.

The dollar amount of sales or financing concessions paid by the seller must be reported for the comparable sales if the information is reasonably available (see UAD Appendix D: Field–Specific Standardization Requirements, for data entry instructions). Sales or financing data should be obtained from parties associated with the comparable transaction, such as the broker, buyer or seller, or a reliable data source. If information is not available because of legal restrictions or other disclosure-related problems, the appraiser must explain why the information is not available. If the appraisal report form does not provide enough space to discuss this information, the appraiser must make an adjustment for the concessions on the form and include an explanation in an addendum to the appraisal report.

The amount of the negative dollar adjustment for each comparable with sales or financing concessions should be equal to any increase in the purchase price of the comparable that the appraiser determines to be attributable to the concessions. The need to make negative dollar adjustments for sales or financing concessions and the amount of the adjustments to the comparable sales is not based on how typical the concessions might be for a segment of the market area. Large sales or financing concessions can be relatively typical in a particular segment of the market and still result in sale prices that reflect more than the value of the real estate. Adjustments based on dollar-for-dollar deductions that are equal to the cost of the concessions to the seller, as a strict cash equivalency approach would dictate, are not appropriate.

Fannie Mae recognizes that the effect of sales or financing concessions on sales prices can vary with the amount of the concessions and differences in various markets. Adjustments must reflect the difference between what the comparables actually sold for with the sales or financing concessions and what they would have sold for without the concessions so that the dollar amount of the adjustments will approximate the reaction of the market to the concessions. If the appraiser’s analysis determines that the market’s reaction is the full amount of the financing concession, a dollar-for-dollar adjustment is acceptable.

Positive adjustments for sales or financing concessions are not acceptable. For example, if local common practice or law results in virtually all of the property sellers in the market area paying a 1% loan origination fee for the purchaser, and a property seller in that market did not pay any loan fees or concessions for the purchaser, the sale would be considered as a cash equivalent sale in that market. The appraiser must recognize comparable sales that sold for all cash or with cash equivalent financing and use them as comparable sales if they are the best indicators of value for the subject property. Such sales also can be useful to the appraiser in determining those costs that are normally paid by sellers as the result of common practice or law in the market area.

Date of Sale and Time Adjustments

The date of sale and the time adjustment (market conditions) are critical elements in determining an accurate value because the appraisal is based on a specific date in time (effective date of appraisal). The comparable sales being considered must be analyzed by the appraiser to determine if there have been any changes in market conditions from the time the comparable went under contract to the effective date of the appraisal. This analysis will determine whether a time adjustment is warranted. Adjustments may be either positive or negative depending on the market changes over the time period analyzed. Time adjustments should be supported by other comparables (such as sales, contracts) whenever possible; however, in all instances the appraiser must provide an explanation for the time adjustment in the appraisal report.

When completing Fannie Mae’s appraisal report forms, the appraiser should provide the date of the sales contract and the settlement or closing date. Only the month and year need to be reported. For example, appraisers may use “s04/10” or “c02/10” where “s” reflects the settlement or closing date and “c” reflects the contract date. If the exact date is necessary to understand the adjustments, it must be explained elsewhere in the report or in an addendum. If the contract date is unavailable to the appraiser in the normal course of business, the appraiser must enter the abbreviation “Unk” for unknown, in place of the contract date.

Appraiser’s Comments and Indicated Value in the Sales Comparison Approach

The appraiser must provide appropriate comment(s) reflecting the logic and reasoning for the adjustments provided, especially for the characteristics reported on the appraisal report form between the Sales or Financing Concessions and the Condition line items. A statement only recognizing that an adjustment has been made is not acceptable. When appropriate, the appraiser’s analysis should also include narrative comments about a current contract, offering, or listing for the subject or comparable sales, current ownership, and recent prior sales or transfers. Additionally, the appraiser’s comments must reflect his or her reconciliation of the adjusted (or indicated) values for the comparable sales and identify why the sale(s) were given the most weight in arriving at the indicated value for the subject property. It should be noted that the indicated value in the Sales Comparison Approach must be within the range of the adjusted sales price of the comparables that are reported in the appraisal report form.

Related Announcements

The table below provides references to the Announcements that have been issued that are related to this topic.

Announcements Issue Date
Announcement SEL-2017–01 January 31, 2017
Announcement SEL-2014–16 December 16, 2014
Announcement SEL-2014–03 April 15, 2014
Announcement 09–19 June 8, 2009
Announcement 08–30 November 14, 2008