Can a Realtor give comps to an appraiser?

This is a question I hear all of the time. It seems like such a simple question but the implementation of various laws several years ago has confusedreal estate agent giving appraiser comps real estate agents about whether they are allowed to provide sales comparables to the appraiser. Many believe they cannot even communicate with the appraiser, but this is not true. Every appraiser is different, however I appreciate any useful information about the subject property that is given to me and this includes sales comparables.

Please keep in mind that appraisers select comps based on various criteria including time of sale, distance, physical similarities, location, and condition & appeal, among other things. Our goal is to bracket the subject property with characteristics that are both superior and inferior to the  property being appraised. You can read another post of mine, “What is bracketing and why should Realtors do it?” to understand how this works. We can consider the sales you provide, but we may not end up using them if they do not meet the criteria we go by. I recently received a “packet” of information that a real estate agent put together, check it out.

Please do not make the number one mistake I see, and that is to provide only comps that are higher than the sale and or list price. If this happens then your innocent act of helpfulness could be construed as trying to influence the appraiser which is a no-no.

If you want to help out the appraiser you may want to follow these criteria:

  •  Provide sales that are inferior AND superior to the subject property.
  • If you have “inside knowledge” of these sales, such as what kind of condition they were in, or information about the terms of sale (divorce, reo,short sale, special financing) include that as well.
  • Don’t tell the appraiser what comps he should use.
  • Don’t tell the appraiser what comps he should not use.

It has become a fine line to walk if you want to talk to the appraiser but I think it can be done. I think the sharing of factual information can be helpful if it is done in a way that does not try to influence the appraiser. Do you have any questions about what you can and cannot talk to an appraiser about? Leave me a comment below and I will do my best to answer it for you.

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. Amber Curran says:

    I’ve always been a little nervous in offering appraiser potential comps as I’ve never wanted it to be taken as trying to influence the value or telling them how to do their job. I always make a point to choose my wording carefully to convey the spirit in which they are being shared and ask if they will look them over and consider them. I will offer specific 1st hand knowledge I may have on any of them and thank them for their time. No more, no less. In 16 years, I’ve only had 1 appraiser that was not receptive to at least hearing me out and “not receptive” is a kind description. I’m thankful he is the minority and appreciate all of you who will give my comps consideration! Thank you!

    • Hey Amber, it sounds like you have had a pretty good experience in dealing with appraisers and I am happy to hear that. If I were to completely disregard what the agent has I could possibly miss out on a comp that may be good. I think as agents understand how appraisers pick and choose comps, taking into consideration lender and underwriter guidelines, then they will be able to provide more relevant comps for the appraiser to consider. I think it’s all about good communication. Thanks for your thoughts on this important topic.

  2. I agree: “Every appraiser is different, however I appreciate any useful information about the subject property that is given to me and this includes sales comparables.” I always prefer data – especially when it is good information or the Realtor has insider information about other potential comps.

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