online.wsj.com - In hot markets where bidding wars are common, the property-appraisal process has been short-circuiting transactions, spurring some would-be buyers to walk away.
A few forces are at work. First, many homes are being appraised at a lower price than what buyers have offered on a house. That is because home values are improving so fast in competitive, high-priced markets that "comps," recent sales of nearby homes with comparable characteristics, haven't kept up. When the appraisal comes in low, the buyers either lose the loan or must quickly make up the difference with a higher down payment.
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