Condo vs. Townhouse for appraisers

Is It a Condo, a Townhouse, a Site Condo or None of the Above?

Excerpt: When appraising townhouses, I always search the MLS for both single-family attached sales as well as condominium sales. Why? It’s because at times, there is confusion between the differences. Often I see real estate agents list townhouses as condos when they are not actually condos and visa versa.

I totally understand why. When it comes to townhouses, it is impossible to know from an outward appearance whether or not it is a condo, or not. Before we get into that, what is a condominium and what is a townhouse?

Well written article. Worth reading.

My comments: The first question in appraising is always “what are you appraising?”. Some appraisers just look at what structure is there. You are appraising the form of ownership, the land and what is attached to the land. With condominium form of ownership, you own the airspace. It does affect what you can do with a home. Some people don’t like HOAs and dues. I sold my house on the water in 2008. There was a large rear yard that was on a “tidelands lease” with an annual payment to the city. It was recently re-listed and only included the original 4,000 sq.ft. lot, not the leased land. Both showed up on plat maps. I wonder what the appraiser for the sale will say about it?

About 20 years ago I appraised a detached home in a project built in the 1980s with both attached (stacked condo style,  duets – sets of 2 semi-detached homes, and townhome (attached) style) plus detached homes. The owner, the HOA president was surprised to learn that they were all condos. I had a title report I showed to him. (The detached homes are now called site condos.) Another nearby small development of sets of two homes (duet or semi-detached) built in the 1960s did not have any common ownership or dues. I have seen these in other nearby cities also.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

To read more of this long blog post, click Read More Below!!

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4-12-18 Newz//What’s a Comp? Multiple offers way over list. Rotating House

What’s a comp?

By George Dell, MAI, SRA

Excerpts: Our education tells us a comp is similar and competitive. So how do we measure “comparability”? If our job entails studying market data to get an answer … might it be important to know exactly how to describe a comp?

So what’s the issue? Why should we care? I am a highly trained expert. I have a license. “Trust me. I know a good comp when I see one.”

My comments: George is writing a longer article than his blog posts for the May issue of the paid Appraisal Today. I often wish his blog posts were longer, but they are designed to be short ;>

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5-12-16 Newz .Geographic competency .Killing home values .Fair housing

The Most Insane Property Description Ever

Short descriptions, click here for some humor!! Reminds me of the times I am driving to the subject, hoping the house ahead is not the one I am appraising… Probably not the Most Insane, but definitely reality-based!!


These Neighborhood Amenities Can Kill Your Property Value

Excerpt: In real estate, the phrase “cash is king” is oft overused. However, if you’re struggling to sell a house in a bad ‘hood, then you already know that in reality, location is king. Purchasing a home in a great area, or an area that is up-and-coming, can help maximize the value of your home investment.

So what can tear your property value down faster than a tree through the roof? The following infographic from offers insight-and some will surprise you!

Link to original article:

My comment: Of course, the effect on value varies by location – cemeteries for example.

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Do your listing comparables have any effect on your final opinion of value?

Another great poll from
My comments: I have always looked at listings, pendings, expired, etc. to tell me what is happening in the market today. Sales are the past.

Recent articles below in the May 2016 issue of the Paid Appraisal Today discuss using listings, particularly in markets that are declining or increasing. Lenders, of course, are way behind. They are just now complaining about low appraisals on purchases and want appraisers to use pending sales. Also, having no closed sales higher than the listing price is ok!!

  • Practical tips on qualifying the 1004MC and preparing a Market Conditions Summary – most examples are declining markets
  • No man’s land & the aggressive real estate market
  • How to handle rapidly increasing prices in your market