My son is a first time home buyer going through the USDA. The home he is purchasing in Babson Park, FL has a tax assessment of approximately $68,000. Also, Zillow has it as $70,000 and rising (I know Zillow is not an official appraisal, just FYI). The contract price was for $43,000. My son was told that as long as the home appraised for more than that that he would be able to wrap his closing costs in to the loan. Well, the appraisal came in at exactly $43,000. When I asked the seller's realtor about this (since he is from the area) he said USDA appraisals almost always come in for the exact contract amount! In additon, I checked the comps the appraiser used. One was $42.89 per square foot, another was $35.98 per square foot, and a third was $30 per square foot. My son's house was set at $30.91 per square foot which makes it come out to be exactly worth $43,000! I do not understand this. Even if you took an average of all of those prices, his would've been at $36.29 per square foot and would have come in at $51,467...much more in line with what even the selling realtor had been expecting. Also, the appraiser used the cost approach to come up with an appraised value of $69,235 but noted that he would give greater weight to the first approach. I do not understand how he arrived at this exact calculation of $43,000 on the nose, particularly when the assessed value is about 35% higher that this figure. In most counties, the tax assessment is considerable under the fair market value. Do you think we have reason to be suspicious and, if so, what are the proper channels to go through? Thank you.