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Updated Apr 4, 2012 - 6:55 am

Low appraisal offers leading to delay in home sales

PHOENIX -- While Valley real estate values appear to be heading up, many home sales are being held up.

Low-ball appraisals are the reason.

Low appraisals led to about one in three real estate contracts across the country being canceled in January. That's up 9 percent from last year.

In the Valley, real estate expert Dean Wegner said that about 20 to 30 percent of real estate transactions have an appraisal discrepancy.

"The problem is that the market's so hot that the appraisers can't keep up with the sales prices," he said. "You're seeing lots of multiple offers, lots of backup contracts."

Wegner said that despite the fact that home values are going up, appraisers don't want home prices to appreciate too rapidly, leading to a tug-of-war, of sorts.

"The good news is that more often than not, it does get worked out between the buyer and the seller," said Wegner.

There are several ways that happens.

"More often, it's the seller coming down off of the sales price," said Wegner. "Second to that would be the buyer putting more down payment.

"The third would be contesting the appraisal, and the appraiser adjusting it back up."

Wegner said an appraisal dispute usually gets resolved within a few days and the sale goes through.

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