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Pre-sale appraisal needed for sale of old house?

2 years ago

I've read many of the other posts re: pre-sale appraisals, and mine, like everyone's has its own uniqueness. Looking for opinions on deciding what to do. Situation: Mom no longer around so time to sell her home. Trying to determine whether to use an agent and if I should get a pre-sale appraisal.


1. Large (3600 sq ft), 60+ yr old home with an outdated interior, on large lot (just under an acre) in highly desirable area near Portland, OR. Has some deferred maintenance issues. Has a mid-century modern feel and great bones.

2. In an area of higher priced homes - $1M +

3. There aren't many comps in the area. Plenty of similarly aged homes in similar condition, but none that i have found to be comparably sized either in sq footage or lot size.

4. As is often the case most overall home sales in the area priced higher than market assessed value on the property tax records.

5. The plan was to get it organized for an estate sale, then get it on the market in April. All proceeding according to plan until the minor inconvenience of a global pandemic got in the way.

6. As i have been cleaning out for the estate sale, 2 neighbors have serious interest in it. One provided a really low ball offer.

7. The interest from the neighbors makes me wonder about going the FSBO route. Would like to not pay the commish if I don't need to. And agents are hesitant to provide a comp market analysis before you sign a contract with them. I have talked with 2 agents in detail about the house - one we used in selling my MIL's house last summer (5% commish, highly desirable neighborhood, sold in about a month); another an old friend who is an agent in a town a couple hours away. He has been generous in providing info.

Trying to determine:

Whether to get an appraisal - It would give me a "professional" opinion of one person that I can use it or not as a gauge. It would run about $700. Kind of a waste of money if I don't use. Or I could just go for the property tax assessed value.

Unfolding state of the economy - Uncharted waters we are all going thru. I temper how much i read, but lots of projections of an almost dystopian economic landscape for potentially some time. Interest rates are low, but a recession looks undeniable. And if banks stop lending, I'm at the mercy of all cash offers. One slight possibility is hanging onto the house for a year, but then i have property taxes and other costs. Even in the best of times the future is uncertain, even more so now.

Whether to use a realtor - this is a big transaction so i don't want to screw up. But if i get an acceptable offer without an agent, thinking I may approach one to handle the paperwork for a few thousand. But then it wouldn't be on MLS.

Comments appreciated. thanks.

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