CMA is real estate shorthand for "Comparative Market Analysis." A CMA
is a report prepared by a real estate agent providing data comparing
your property to similar properties in the marketplace.
The first thing an agent will need to do to provide you with a CMA is
to inspect your property. Generally, this inspection won't be overly
detailed (she or he is not going to crawl under the house to examine
the foundation), nor does the house need to be totally cleaned up and
ready for an open house. It should be in such a condition that the
agent will be able to make an accurate assessment of its condition and
worth. If you plan to make changes before selling, inform the agent at
The next step is for the agent to obtain data on comparable
properties. This data is usually available through MLS (Multiple
Listing Service), but a qualified agent will also know of properties
that are on the market or have sold without being part of the MLS. This
will give the agent an idea how much your property is worth in the
current market. Please note that the CMA is not an appraisal. An
appraisal must be performed by a licensed appraiser.
The CMA process takes place before your home is listed for sale. This
is a good assessment of what your house could potentially sell for.
CMAs are not only for prospective sellers. Buyers should consider
requesting a CMA for properties they are seriously looking at to
determine whether the asking price is a true reflection of the current
market. Owners who are upgrading or remodeling can benefit from a CMA
when it's used to see if the intended changes will "over-improve" their
property compared to others in the neighborhood.
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