One of the most challenging aspects with refinancing homes in the Seattle area is the appraisal. It doesn't really matter what you paid for it or how much you love your home. What is probably going to impact the appraised value of your home the most is what your former neighbors have sold their homes for.
If your neighbor had to drastically drop their sales price to sell their home, it may impact your home value. The closer their home is located to your home and the more similar to your home, the more weight that home will have as a "sales comparable" to the appraiser. With fewer sales for an appraiser to rely on for sales comparables to your home, it can make it even tougher.
Appraisers today need to ideally find three – four recently sold homes in your neighborhood to create a value for your home. They also need to comment on the real estate market and how long homes are typically staying listed.
When I'm helping a home owner who's considering refinancing their home in Washington, I'll do my best to review recent sales in their area and I tell you, it's not an easy job! At the very least, I'll share what I find with the home owner so they can have a rough idea of what the appraiser may be viewing as well.
If you get a low appraisal, thanks to HVCC (and NY Attorney General Coumo) your mortgage originator cannot order a new appraisal as that's considered "value shopping". Worse case scenario, if a home owner does not qualify for a home affordable refinance after discovering the appraised value is lower than expected, they may be out the cost of the appraisal (typically around $500).
As home sales pick up and sales prices begin to rise, appraised values will eventually pick up. Remember, an "appraised value" is different than how you value your home and it's reflective–it will change up or down over time. Unless you are selling or refinancing your home, what it would "appraise for" doesn't really matter.