CMA’s are about facts which can be qualified and quantified. The CMA is typically designed to give quick snapshot of information such as number of bedrooms and baths, approximate square footage, amenities, age of the home, property taxes, and more. CMA’s can include homes that are currently for sale and those which have recently sold. They can go back in time as long as years, a month or week ago. CMA’s can cover areas as narrow as one or two streets surrounding your home, or as broad as an entire subdivision like Summerlake, Fox Run, Hickory Hills, Fiddlers Green, etc… What is not included in the CMA are those factors that affect perception, and that is the key difference between why one home with identical features will ultimately command a higher price than the same house next door. Perception alters reality, and this is a crucial consideration in understanding the buying and selling process and the value of the CMA. Much of a home’s value will ultimately be determined by the emotional impact it has on buyers. These emotions are based on subjective elements such as curb appeal, interior decor, color, light, darkness, room flow, and hundreds of other factors. At the end of each home’s information on the CMA report there will be a brief statement provided by the listing agent. This statement is usually a combination of fact and subjective opinion, and will generally cover selling points. It could be anything from “kitchen and master bath completely remodeled in 2010” to “Charming! Must see!” For privacy reasons the CMA that is offered for public consumption does not list every piece of information that has been obtained by the seller’s agent. It will give the what, when, where, but it won’t give the who (the seller’s identity) and the why (why the home is being put up for sale.) This is to protect the seller’s privacy and to keep from inadvertently giving the buyer an advantage in a distress situation.
The CMA is clearly a selling tool and should be interpreted by a professional or with complete objectivity by the seller or buyer. Remember that the CMA is also a buying tool; it is taken just as seriously by the buyer and his agent. Remember that you as a seller are going to use the CMA to ask the highest possible price for your home, the buyer is going to use it to find reasons to either choose or eliminate your home, and to arrive at the lowest price possible.