5 things NOT to say to an appraiser if you don’t want to be accused of influencing them

Things not to say to an appraiserIn today’s “hands off” world of real estate agent/appraiser interaction a lot of misinformation has been spread around. Many agents think it is 100% against the rules to speak to the appraiser, but that just isn’t true. Real estate appraisers and agents can speak to one another about factual things pertaining to the sales contract and the property being sold. What is frowned upon is when things are said or done that attempt to influence the appraisers opinion of value in any direction. I have compiled a helpful list of things you do not want to say to an appraiser so you cannot be accused of trying to influence the value. Here they are:

  • “Use these sales, they are the best comps for this house”- There is a fine line in providing comparable sales to the appraiser. A true comparable will bracket the sales price of the home, meaning that there will be some that have sold for lower than the contract amount and some that have sold above the contract amount. By all means, if you have used certain sales to come up with your listing price, provide them to the appraiser but don’t just provide the ones that sold for the highest amount.
  • “Give me the best appraisal you can”- Appraisers interpret this as “give me the highest value you can”. Believe me, appraisers attempt to provide the best and most accurate appraisal possible. As an unbiased third party our goal is to provide the best appraisal possible that reflects current market behavior.
  • “Can you not take a picture of that hole in the wall?”– This has only happened one time in my 20+ year career as an appraiser but I felt it was worth including. By excluding negative aspects of the property the lender may get an unrealistic picture (literally) of the home. Appraisers are asked to take pictures of the outside of the home as well as the interior and any repairs that need to be made. If we exclude any of these items then we could be accused of trying to hide something from the lender and we could be removed from their approved appraiser list.
  • “Can you leave out the recent foreclosures and short sales?”- By asking for these types of sales to be excluded you could be accused of trying to direct the appraisal value in a  certain direction. After careful analysis the appraiser will determine if the short sales and foreclosures accurately reflect current market behavior in the neighborhood. If it does they will be included, if not they won’t.
  • “Let me know if it comes in low, ok?”- Well, appraisers really cannot tell anyone but their client what the appraisal comes in at. In a mortgage loan appraisal the lender is the client, and the appraiser cannot disclose the appraised value to anyone but them. I do get appraisal requests from real estate agents to help in coming up with a value to list the home at, and in that situation I can typically discuss the appraisal with them, if it is ok with the homeowner.

There are topics that appraisers appreciate real estate agents talking to them about. They include any unique characteristics of the subject property such as updates and renovations, school systems, information about the homeowners association and amenities, as well as any physical features that may not be readily visible.

Do you have anything you might want to ask an appraiser but are not sure if it is crossing the line? Leave me a message and I will see if I can help you out.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on Facebook., Twitter, or Youtube.

 

 

Comments

  1. Great blog post Tom, all 5 hit home with me here in Michigan. I’ve been appraising since 1998, i’ve almost heard and seen everything. But, that’s what keeps it interesting. Keep up the great work on your blog.

    • Thanks for commenting Chris. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who hears these things. I guess people are the same no matter where you’re at.

  2. Good stuff, Tom. It’s so important to have open communication with real estate agents, though it’s nice not to have pressure to “hit the number” too.

  3. Kay Gilbert says:

    Nice informative article. I may print it out and give it to some of my seller’s.

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