Split level rant follows...
My wife and I are getting our split level house appraised for a refi. Being a split level, only the upper floor is considered living space, downstairs is technically a basement (even though it contains the master bedroom and is finished aside from the furnace and laundary room). I understand that's how it works, and I'm fine with it overall.
So the house is basically 1000sqft upstairs, 100sqft downstairs with 850 of it being furnished for 1800sqft of furnished area. So generally, you would think they'd compare to other similar split level homes? Nope, first 'comparable' is a 1400sqft single floor with one fewer bedroom. Their adjustment? That home was worth more by having 400sqft and a bedroom less because it's all above grade.
Next two comps were split levels, but with different layouts. The first had 500 fewer sqft (100 of which above grade) and one less bedroom. They adjusted its price up just 5% and was the cheapest comparable. The final comp had 200sqft more above grade, but 400sqft less below. Also one bedroom less, but it did have an extra half bath. Despite having less space that was considered $4k more valuable than ours. Average those three together, and we get a crappy appraised value, below what we expected.
What really grinds my gears though, is the two comparables they gave lower priority. Both of those houses had the identical square footage above grade to ours, a bit less below grade, and either the same or fewer beds and baths. After adjustments they were right where we expected the appraisal to be. So why weren't they used? They were 6 month old sales, and even though they had been adjusted to compensate for the change in housing values, they were considered less relevant for the appraisal.
Seriously? Identical houses with an easy adjustment for home values, and they ignore those in favor of crappy corrections for square footage biased against my house? This is so stupid.