Navigating Real Estate Appraisal Hurdles on Martha’s Vineyard

Jen Hawkins O'Hanlon, REALTOR®


When stepping into the enchanting world of Martha's Vineyard real estate, a fundamental understanding of property appraisals is essential for both buyers and sellers alike. Here's an in-depth guide to help you navigate this crucial step successfully.

Why Appraisals Can Come in Low on the Island

Property appraisals are typically ordered by banks to safeguard their investments, ensuring that the property's assessed value aligns with your offer. However, there are instances where the appraised value falls short, and this can happen for various reasons. In many markets, common causes include fluctuations in the real estate market or a lack of comparable sales. But when it comes to Martha's Vineyard, the challenge often lies in the appraiser's understanding of this unique island.

Unlike mainland markets, the appeal of Martha's Vineyard properties extends beyond square footage. Factors like proximity to water, town centers, and the island's distinct charm play a significant role in property values. Appraisers from the mainland may not always capture these subtleties, resulting in lower valuations.

For Buyers: Overcoming a Low Appraisal

If you're in the process of purchasing a property with a loan and the appraisal comes in lower than expected, it can present a hurdle. Here are steps to consider:

  • Negotiate: Start a dialogue with the seller. They might agree to a reduced price.

  • Challenge the Appraisal: Buyers have the right to dispute an appraisal, especially if there are valid concerns about the appraiser's understanding of the property's value within the Martha's Vineyard context.

  • Bridge the Gap: If you are deeply committed to the property, you may choose to cover the difference between the appraised value and the purchase price. Alternatively, negotiate with the seller to find a mutually acceptable solution.

For Sellers: Preparing for Appraisal Shortfalls

Sellers can also take proactive steps to address potential appraisal challenges:

  • Appraisal Gap Contingency: During the negotiation phase, consider including a clause in the contract that requires the buyer to make up any shortfall in the appraisal value.

  • Choose Local Banks: Encourage buyers who are seeking financing to work with local banks during negotiations. Local banks often employ appraisers with a better understanding of the nuances of the Martha's Vineyard real estate market.

The Importance of a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent

In navigating the intricacies of appraisal challenges on Martha's Vineyard, having a seasoned real estate agent by your side is paramount. These agents are not mere intermediaries; they are trusted advisors who possess an intimate understanding of the island's unique market dynamics. They can guide you through appraisal discrepancies, negotiate effectively, and ensure a smoother home-buying or selling experience.

Intrigued and eager for a seamless real estate journey on Martha's Vineyard? Reach out and connect with The O'Hanlon Group's seasoned real estate advisors today. With their expertise, you can confidently navigate the nuances of property appraisals and make informed decisions in this captivating real estate landscape.


As a team, we work in harmony for the benefit of our clients. We handle multiple transactions at once and are able to execute a complex marketing strategy by leveraging team resources. We can be in several physical locations at once to ensure showings are always possible for our buyers and sellers. Our clients benefit from the combined experience of our agents and administrative staff.

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