5 More Random Thoughts From An Appraiser

The Wheels Are Still Turning In My Head

In my last post, I shared some random thoughts that were going through my mind. Some of them were inspired by the things that are happening in the real estate market we are currently in.

Random Appraiser Thoughts

It seems that the wheels are still turning so I decided I would share some more thoughts I’ve had. Leave a comment below and tell me what’s on your mind.

1) If you want to contest an appraisal provide something for the appraiser to work with – In today’s ramped-up market it is not uncommon for the appraisal and sales contract to be different.

If this is happening to you you can always submit a reconsideration of value. To increase the chances of success you’ll want to make sure to offer something the appraiser can work with such as new comps or proof that information they included in the appraisal is wrong.

The best way to request a reconsideration of value is to provide tangible information the appraiser can use to reconsider their value opinion. It is always possible that the appraiser may not have had all the information available or that they may have overlooked a sale that occurred that they were not aware of.

If this is the case then the additional information may help support a higher value. Always remember though that just because the appraisal was lower than the contract that doesn’t mean the appraiser was wrong it may just mean that we’re in a crazy market where buyers are ultra motivated to get into a house and may not be making logical offers based on market data.

2) Don’t underestimate bad data such as incorrect square footage – If you’ve ever heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” you’llGarbage In Garbage Out know how important reliable data is.

Incorrect square footage is the most common problem I see with data in MLS listings. This is unfortunate because it is the one thing that many agents use to price their listings.

If you have the wrong square footage of a house you will most likely not price it correctly. If you overstate it you can price the home too high and if you understate it then you can leave money on the table.

The best place to get accurate square footage is from an old appraisal. If that is not possible then you can get it measured by an appraiser or someone else familiar with how to calculate square footage.

3) Don’t believe what home improvement shows say about what your home is worth – I have never seen a home improvement show that tells you that the improvement they make costs more than the value they give. It seems that every one of their home improvements gives you a 100% plus return on your investment.

This is ironic given the fact that cost does not always equal value. The Cost vs Value website I mentioned in the last post shows that none of the projects they listed returned more value than the cost of the improvements.

These shows may be good for getting ideas on what you might want to do with your home but they are not good at showing how much it will be worth when it is finished. For that, you should consult with an appraiser.

4) Agents should think of appraisers as a resource and not an enemy – It’s easy to see the appraiser as an obstacle that gets in the way of selling your listings, however, it may be better to see them as a resource for helpful information on how to price a home more accurately.

I am a big believer in education and I freely share with agents, on this blog and in sales meetings, how and why appraisers do what they do. If you ever have an appraisal-related question and you cannot find the answer on my blog feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help you.

5) Appraisers are not racist like the media would have you believe – I have seen many news stories over the past year that paints appraisers as being racist but I’m not buying it.

From the very beginning of training to become an appraiser we are taught that race plays no part in the appraisal process. Our certification even states this. Here is a typical statement included in the appraisal report:

I did not base, either partially or completely, my analysis and/or the opinion of value in the appraisal report on the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin of either the prospective owners or occupants of the subject property or of the present owners or occupants of the properties in the vicinity of the subject property.

The appraisal is based on comparable sales and the report reflects the actions and motivations of buyers and sellers in the subject market area. We do not make the market we only report on it.


There is no appraiser that I know of who would risk their livelihood by injecting racism into an appraisal. Appraisers are the only party to a real estate transaction that are unbiased. Everyone else has a financial stake in the outcome, whereas the appraiser’s pay is a set fee that is not determined based on the outcome of whether the loan closes or not.

Any Thoughts?

Do you have any random appraisal thoughts? Do you have any appraisal questions I could answer for you? I would love to hear your take on the thoughts I have shared or the current market we are in so leave a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going. As always, thanks for reading.

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  1. Lawrence Fenimore says

    I am shocked that no other appraiser responded to my posting above except you Tom.
    Lawrence Fenimore

  2. Lawrence NoOne says

    I watched yesterday on TV a 3 hour CSPAN Broadcast whereby state government elected officials were asking questions and interviewing the newly promoted chief director of HUD official. Miss Marcia Fudge. The question of bias with appraisals came up. Well, she went through a personal detailed long explanation where she said on TV for the nation to hear that she lives in a neighborhood that her home is being effected by bias also and that she knows for a fact is appraised for $20,000 lower than a nearby neighborhood. Now my question is: Does she even know what we hard working and respectable appraisers do to perform a credible appraisal or we can lose our license not to mention we are reviewed by the AMC and bank underwriters with today’s highly efficient AVM and other processes such as UC underwriting by the government. For heavens sake she is the TOP DIRECTOR/HEAD of HUD. This made her appear to be extremely incompetent whereby she was speaking out of turn and she also made herself appear to be instigating these false accusations and statements against all appraisers. Plus we are all on the same team and she just trough all us appraisers under the bus. We dedicated appraisers deserve a BIG TIME public apology directly form her. My take is that If someone does not know what they are speaking of, keep your mouth shut. You can cause irreputable harm. You can cause us appraisers to not just be harmed by harming our good name of out profession which we work hard to preserve but we could be attacked when we are performing are duties before and after our reports are completed. They asked her many questions and she did not answer one with a solution, she danced around every question asked by our legislative elected top government representatives. When one of our state representatives got more direct about her side stepping all the questions as of her, she actually acted insulted and she even had the nerve on TV to scold him. I am extremely not happy that we appraisers who are risking our lives doing reports during Covid 19 and working harder than ever to perform our endless duties, especially since 2008 bubble crash, has to now listen to the director of HUD accuse us of wrong doing. What do you all think about this? We are all to busy trying to do work than to defend ourselves and we have no representation to help us. Why pay dues to organizations that do not come to defend us. Well now for sure we appraisers are going to need body guards or bodily protection when we enter any such neighborhood that may be occupied by so called minorities of any kind. I am over 40 and being over 40 I am considered a minority also and if I don’t get my house appraised for the same price or higher people under 40, I am calling the HUD director for her to defend me against these discriminatory appraisers. Don’t we ever catch a break. I am glad I am on my way out of this business, I am 68 years old and 48 years of abuse of me struggling in the appraisal profession is enough for me and I have now had enough after hearing the TOP HEAD DIRCTOR HUD Marcia Fudge accuse us of wrong doing.

    • It is really sad to hear this type of thing. I am sure there may be some rogue individuals, as there are in every profession and in every walk of life, however, in my 30+ years as an appraiser I have never seen a case of racism in an appraisal nor have I ever met an appraiser who I would think would be racist. I am not naive enough to think that someone like that does not exist as I just stated but collectively as a profession I do not believe this is prevalent to the extent they would want us to believe. It would be hard to believe that appraisers would get a fair shake from someone in such a high position when they have started blaming appraisers from the beginning of their tenure as head of HUD.

      • Dear Tom, Yes absolutely helped.
        As Always please keep up your great writing.. I still feel that you have the best talent for explaining ideas and concepts and everything in ways for everyone to learn and to completely understand real estate aspects. Your the best in my eyes.
        Larry Fenimore
        Appraiser and Broker / 48 years

  3. MariRose Thornburg says

    This was excellent!! All of your post are so educational and informative. Thank you so much for the effort you put in to keep us informed.

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