Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

What is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)?

CMA stands for Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). It is a crucial tool used in the real estate industry to estimate the market value of a property. Real estate agents, appraisers, and homeowners utilize CMAs to determine a competitive and realistic listing price for a property. CMAs are essential because they provide valuable insights into the current market conditions and help individuals make informed decisions regarding buying or selling real estate.

A CMA involves the comparison of the subject property with similar properties in the same geographical area that have been recently sold, are currently listed for sale, or are under contract. By analyzing these comparable properties, a real estate professional can gauge the property's approximate worth based on factors like location, size, condition, and market trends.

How to do a CMA

Creating an effective Comparative Market Analysis involves several steps:

  • Gather Data: Collect detailed information about the subject property, such as its square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lot size, and any unique features.

  • Select Comparable Properties: Choose recently sold, active listings, and pending sales that are similar to the subject property in terms of size, location, and condition.

  • Adjustment Analysis: Compare the subject property to the selected comparables and make adjustments to account for any differences. For example, if the subject property has one less bathroom than a comparable property, an adjustment is made to reflect this difference in value.

  • Calculate the Estimated Value: Once adjustments are made, calculate an estimated value for the subject property by averaging the adjusted values of the comparable properties.

  • Consider Market Trends: Take into account the current real estate market conditions, including supply and demand, interest rates, and local economic factors, as these can influence the property's value.

  • Present the CMA: Share the CMA report with the property owner or potential buyer, explaining how the estimated value was determined and providing insights into the local real estate market.

  • Reevaluate as Needed: CMAs should be regularly updated to reflect changes in the market. Properties that are listed for sale or that have recently sold can impact the estimated value of the subject property.

CMA vs. Appraisal

While both CMAs and real estate appraisals aim to determine a property's value, they serve different purposes and are conducted by different professionals:

  • CMA (Comparative Market Analysis):

    • Conducted by real estate agents or brokers.
    • Often used to assist sellers in determining an appropriate listing price or helping buyers make competitive offers.
    • Utilizes recent sales data and active listings to estimate a property's value.
    • Generally, less formal and less regulated than appraisals.
  • Appraisal:

    • Conducted by licensed appraisers who are independent of the buying and selling process.
    • Typically required by lenders when financing a property purchase.
    • Follows strict guidelines and regulations set by appraisal standards bodies.
    • Provides an impartial and legally binding valuation of a property.

Comparative Market Analysis is a valuable tool in the real estate industry used to estimate a property's market value by comparing it to similar properties in the area. It helps sellers determine a competitive listing price and assists buyers in making informed offers. While CMAs are informative, appraisals are more formal and are usually required by lenders to determine a property's true value for financing purposes.

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