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A comparable sale is a property that is similar to the subject property in most respects, is located in a similar neighborhood, and has sold recently in an arms length transaction.
The selection of comparable sales, in most residential appraisals, is probably the most important factor in establishing value. It, quite simply, is what other properties like the subject are actually selling for.
It is the appraisers responsibility to adequately research the local market and determine which comparable sales best represent the value determining characteristics of the property being appraised.