The first thing an agent will need to do to provide you with a CMA is to visually inspect your property. This inspection won’t be overly detailed – just a visual walk through allowing the agent to make an accurate assessment of its condition and worth.
The next step is for the agent to obtain data on comparable properties. This data is usually available through MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and a qualified agent will make adjustments for differences in your property and the other properties available. This will give the agent an idea how much your property is worth in the current market. The CMA is not an appraisal. An appraisal must be performed by a licensed appraiser.
The CMA process takes place before your home is listed for sale. This is a good assessment of what your house could potentially sell for.
CMAs are not only for prospective sellers. Buyers should consider requesting a CMA for properties they are seriously looking at to determine whether the asking price is a true reflection of the current market. Owners who are upgrading or remodeling can benefit from a CMA when it’s used to see if the intended changes will “over-improve” their property compared to others in the neighborhood.
Source: California Association of Realtors