Ask Henry

Comparable Sales - Nearby Location

Dear Henry,

In the following definition of Comparable Sale, what would you consider to be a reasonable "nearby" distance?

Comparable Sale: A comparable sale is a property, that is similar to the subject property in most respects, is located in a similar (nearby) location, and has sold recently at arms length. The selection of comparable sales is in most residential appraisals, the single most important determining factor in establishing value. It is the appraisers responsibility to adequately research the local real estate market and determine which comparable sales best represent the value characteristics of the subject property.

Benson J. Bercovitz

Dear Benson,

There are no benchmarks or USPAP rules that determines what is a reasonable distance to look for comparable sales. Often it is just a few blocks from a university, hospital or some other work place where many people in the market are motivated to live, to be nearby these facilities. On the other hand, when corporate executives are relocated to New York City, they often check out housing in New York, New Jersey and Southern Connecticut, so houses that appeal to this market can be hundreds of miles apart. The final determination of the best comparable sales is solely up to the appraiser.