RE/MAX Town and Country
Zerah Wilson
12315 Crabapple Rd, Suite 136
Alpharetta  GA 30004
 Phone: 770-595-6431
Office Phone: 770-928-4966
Fax: 1-888-691-1039
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Zerah Wilson


Why CMAs and Appraisals Aren't The Same

January 30, 2015 4:08 pm

Why CMAs and Appraisals Aren't The Same

As part of the homebuying process, your real estate agent may create a comprehensive market analysis or CMA. Later, when you apply for a mortgage, a bank appraisal is conducted by a licensed appraiser. Are CMAs and appraisals the same thing?

While both CMAs and appraisals help determine a home's market value, their purposes are not the same. The CMA is a sales tool to help you find an offer price for the home you want to buy. The homes in the CMA include the home you want to buy plus similar nearby homes. This helps you see how the home you want compares to other homes so you have an idea what to offer.

A real estate professional may prepare a CMA for their sellers to help them choose a listing price. The CMA includes recently sold homes and homes for sale in the seller's neighborhood that are most similar to the seller's home in appearance, features, and general price range.

Although the CMA is used to help determine current market value, the seller's home is typically not even featured in the CMA. The CMA is merely a guide to help the seller learn what's happening in their local market, so they can better understand where their home fits in term of price ranges, based on location, features, size, condition and other factors.

The CMA offers the same advantages to you as a buyer. They help you better understand the local market. You can expand the search and get different results in a CMA simply by changing the zip code or the price range or the number of bedrooms and baths.

Appraisals are all about risk retention for banks and their customers. If the buyer is receiving financing through a bank, the bank will order an appraisal.

Unlike the CMA, a bank appraisal is a professional determination of a home's value. It's performed by a licensed appraiser, using guidelines established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates federal housing loan guarantors such as FHA, VA and housing loan purchasers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

An appraisal is a comprehensive look at a home's location, condition, and eligibility for federal guarantees. For example, the home you want may have porch steps but no handrail. If you want to buy the home with an FHA or VA-insured loan, your seller will have to repair or install a handrail. The FHA or VA appraiser will look at the home a second time to make sure the steps were made safe.

Appraisers use the same data in their market research to find comparable homes as Realtors do. They are also members of the MLS, but they have additional guidelines from the bank to follow to minimize risk to the bank and to the borrower. If home prices are falling, the appraiser takes the number of days a home has been on the market far more seriously.

When the appraisal is finished, the bank makes the decision to fund the loan, or it may require the seller to fix certain items and show proof that the repairs have been made before letting the loan proceed. If the loan doesn't meet federal lending guidelines, the bank will decline the loan.

Despite stricter lending and appraisal standards, most buyers' loan applications go through to closing. One reason the system works so well is that real estate agents are preparing CMAs that are better tuned to lending standards as well as market conditions. As a buyer, it's in your best interest to understand how lenders approach risk and to learn what the market is doing.

Simply put, you need both a CMA and an appraisal to determine market value. A CMA helps you decide what you should offer the seller. An appraisal determines what the lender is willing to lend to help you purchase a home. 

Written by Blanche Evans


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 8, 2014 4:33 pm

I wish you and yours a blessed, memorable Christmas and the very best in 2015. I will be especially excited to be a part of any home buying or selling services you need in the new year too. I'm always here for you--just call me! Thank you, Zerah

P.S. I had a wonderful time making this holiday wreath to welcome friends and family at my front door in a class at Autumn Hill Nursery. Highly recommend them--wonderful folks!


An Interview with Zerah!

October 10, 2014 4:08 am

RE/MAX Town & Country's experienced real estate agent Zerah Wilson and her assistant decided to record a casual, impromptu video right there on Zerah's own back porch in Woodstock, Georgia. We invite you to join us for one of soon to be many videos revealing Zerah's words of truth and wisdom in what SELLS in today's real estate market. (Read More)

Tips on Moving with Children

October 9, 2014 1:32 pm

Moving with children does pose additional considerations when you are planning a move but it's also a time of uncertainty for them. Below are some tips on helping your children cope with the move and make them more comfortable with their new neighborhood.
  • Prepare your children for the move and include them in making plans for the move. Get their input on the best way to say 'good-bye' to their old home.
  • Take time to show your children their new home, their new bedroom and neighborhood.
  • Involve them in deciding how their new bedroom will be arranged.
  • Get your child an address book and help them collect phone numbers and addresses of their friends so they can stay in contact with them after the move. Older children can exchange email addresses.
  • Go to school with your children the first few days to help them adjust to their new classrooms and teachers.
  • Aside from school, investigate other activities or organizations your child can participate in their new neighborhood.
  • Listen to your child's concerns on the move and discuss them.
  • Maintain your child's daily routine as much as possible.
  • Moving stress can be more acute with older children, be sure to watch your children for loss of appetite, insomnia, and unexpected mood changes and consult a doctor or counselor if they persist.
  • Give you children packing duty, set aside a box or two that they can pack their favorite toys in.
  • For safety, arrange to have smaller children stay with relatives or at a day-care during the major part of loading and unloading the moving truck.
  • Bring along travel games or other entertainment for the trip to your new neighborhood.
  • For the moving day, pack an ice chest with plenty of sandwiches, snacks and beverages.
  • Teach your children your new phone number and address.
  • Go on walks with your children in your new neighborhood. This gives them a chance to become familiar with their new neighborhood and they may even meet a new friend or two.
  • At the end of the moving day spend some time relaxing with your family; you've all earned it.
I hope these tips help you in making the move with your children an enjoyable one! 

NAR Fact Sheet

October 9, 2014 12:27 pm

NAR Fact Sheet

What: The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members, including NAR’s institutes, societies and councils, involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Who: Our membership is composed of residential and commercial REALTORS®, who are brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry. Members belong to one or more of some 1,400 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®. They are pledged to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Why: Working for America's property owners, the National Association provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own real property.

Experience Matters

September 23, 2014 2:28 pm

For most people buying a home is the largest investment they will ever make. Because of this you need the guidance of an experienced real estate professional to help you avoid costly mistakes. The advantages of using a real estate professional are many: 

  • Knowledge of the neighborhoods, schools and condition of the local real estate market. If they don't have first hand knowledge of an area then they probably know a fellow real estate professional who does.
  • A real estate professional is experienced in negotiating price. By working with you, a real estate professional will know what interests you and watch for new homes on the market that match those interests. By knowing what you want, a real estate professional can help you focus on your needs and not let you get sidetracked by amenities that don't add value to your purchase.

  • A real estate professional has working relationships with appraisers, inspectors, mortgage lenders, title insurers, movers, attorneys, etc. These relationships make the entire buying process much smoother than it would if you had to find all these resources yourself.
  • Get you a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) so you know what comparable homes in the area are selling for.

  • A great resource of information throughout the searching, offering, closing process and after you move into your new home. 

As a real estate professional I'm thoroughly versed in all phases of the home buying process, be sure to use that experience to your advantage. I'm here to help. Please contact me today! --Zerah

RE/MAX Town and Country

Zerah Wilson Realty Facebook Page

September 19, 2014 1:01 pm

If you haven't already, please "LIKE" my Facebook page where you'll receive lots of good information to help you buy or sell your home. See you there! 

Zerah Wilson, Realtor

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A New Beginning!

September 3, 2014 1:08 pm

A new beginning, today was the first day that my new Assistant, Sandra Fink came to work. I really needed someone who can help with the computer and paperwork. I already feel like we accomplished a ton of work today. Now I can get out and do what I do best and that is help Buyers and Sellers with their Real Estate needs.