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Restricted Appraisal Report vs. Realtor® Market Analysis: Understanding the Differences

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When it comes to understanding the value of real estate, both the Restricted Appraisal Report and a Realtor's Market Analysis are valuable tools. However, they have different purposes, scopes, and implications. Let's examine the differences between these two assessments.

But first, this information is about a "Restricted Appraisal Report" but not an "Appraisal Report." The difference you will see is the size of the report, not the credibility. Understand that there are two types of appraisal reports: "Restricted Appraisal Report" and "Appraisal Report" are legal terms recognized by government agencies that oversee appraisal standards. A "Restricted Appraisal Report" is shorter but must be no less credible. The main difference is that it is "restricted" to one person who knows the property well enough so that they do not need detailed lot, building, and market area analysis. As a result, the "Restricted Appraisal Report" is unacceptable for use by banks, government, and others.

1. Purpose & Use

Restricted Appraisal Report:

  • This is a formal report created by a licensed or certified appraiser.

  • Its primary function is to estimate the value of a property for principals to a transaction.

  • Remember, it is unacceptable for use by banks, government, or the courts.

  • The appraiser must comply with State of Florida ethics and guidelines, and is subject to strict rules regarding objectivity, confidentiality, and competence.

Realtor's Market Analysis (RMA):

  • Prepared by a real estate agent or Realtor.

  • Its primary purpose is to help sellers determine a listing price or help buyers decide on a purchase offer.

  • While not official like an appraisal, it is based on the Realtor's knowledge of the local market and a less stringent requirement for analysis of recent sales. There are no significant rules for objectivity, confidentiality, and competence.

2. Scope & Depth

Restricted Appraisal Report:

  • The trained appraiser must consider all credible approaches to value (Cost, Sales, and Income Capitalization Approaches) although reports only the most relevant.

  • Involves an inspection of the property and considerations of the broader real estate market. When competent and the property is not complex, the appraiser may not physically inspect (called a "Desktop Restricted Appraisal Report").

  • Primarily compares the subject property to similar properties that have sold recently, with adjustments made for differences. If an income-producing profile, or the building is newer, then Income Capitalization and Cost Approaches must be considered as well.

Realtor's Market Analysis (RMA):

  • Focuses more on recent sales data of comparable properties (comps) in the area.

  • Less empirical, and usually does not involve an in-depth analysis like an appraisal.

  • Primarily based on the Realtor's knowledge of the local market trends and conditions.

3. Legality & Binding Nature

Restricted Appraisal Report:

  • Can be used in official and legal capacities between two parties familiar with the property.

  • Can be binding in nature when required for mediation or by contract terms.

  • An appraiser is legally bound through the State of Florida Certification to conduct business under competency, confidentiality, and most of all objectivity rules.

Realtor's Market Analysis (RMA):

  • Informative but not legally binding.

  • Used as a guide to make decisions, not for official valuations.

4. Cost

Restricted Appraisal Report:

  • Typically costs more due to the in-depth nature of the report and the official qualifications required of the appraiser.

Realtor's Market Analysis (RMA):

  • Often provided for free or at a minimal cost by Realtors hoping to secure a listing or assist a potential buyer.

5. Reliability & Objectivity

Restricted Appraisal Report:

  • Considered more objective since appraisers are bound by strict industry and regulatory standards and are not involved in the transaction.

Realtor's Market Analysis (RMA):

  • While Realtors aim to provide an accurate analysis, their assessment might be influenced by their interest in securing a listing or making a sale. Most are also not competent in the level of research or analysis required for certified appraisals.


Both the Restricted Appraisal Report and the Realtor's Market Analysis play crucial roles in real estate transactions. Understanding the differences between them ensures that property buyers, sellers, and other stakeholders can make informed decisions based on the context and purpose of their needs.


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