5 take aways from the 2014 Alabama Realtors Winter Conference

Alabama Realtors Winter Conference 2014I recently had the opportunity to participate in the 2014 Alabama Realtors Winter Conference. I was part of a panel, along with commercial appraiser Mark Barrs (that’s he and I in the photo), that was put together to answer appraisal related questions that agents might have. It went well and I appreciated the chance to share dialogue with them. Over the last several years I have attempted to spend more time participating in these types of discussions with agents, as well as other real estate professionals, to talk about how appraisers do their job and how we can all work together more effectively to make the process smoother. I thought I would share with you some concerns that agents had, as well as my thoughts on the conference and what went on.

Any dialogue beats no dialogue- Getting together to talk about the state of affairs is never a bad idea. It promotes communication between professionals that are in the same line of work and who rely on each other to do their respective jobs. It seems like there is always an issue that there is some confusion over, like appraiser/agent communication. Some agents are still under the impression that they cannot have communication with the appraiser, which is incorrect. I wrote about this recently so take a minute to read it and let me know if you have any questions.

Appraisers are people too-  It seems like communication is the common thread running through this post, but it really is one of the most important things we can all work on. I have never met an appraiser who set out to intentionally kill a real estate deal. If you have a question about how an appraiser does their job, or how they performed an appraisal, the best thing you can do is communicate with them about it rather than report them to the state licensing board. Of course there is a proper protocol you should follow because you cannot communicate with them after the appraisal is completed. If you need to ask them a question it should go through the lender so it is not misunderstood as you trying to pressure them in a certain direction of value. Any errors could be innocent, or you may just not understand how they did something. They may have done the appraisal a certain way in order to meet lender guidelines. Some problems can be avoided by discussing things before the appraisal is completed.

Put all your cards on the table up front- Some of the agents attending our discussion group were not aware that they could provide the appraiser with information to help them during the appraisal assignment. If you have done your homework in pricing the property then you should provide this information to the appraiser for them to consider at the time of the inspection, or if you cannot be there then by email or another method. There is no guarantee that it will be used but at least they will have it for consideration. It is easier to do it up front rather than after an appraisal is completed and the case has has to be reopened. Find out the what I wrote recently about this topic.

Communicate, communicate, communicate- This was something I myself learned during our discussion. I typically set up appraisal inspections with the listing agent of the property since they are working for the seller, however some selling agents complained that they did not know what was going on because the appraiser never called them. From now on I will work on letting both the listing and selling agent know about the appraisal inspection and the estimated time the appraisal will be completed. While it is not a requirement, I think it fosters better communication and relationships between the parties involved in the transaction.

Agents should be proactive- Some agents said that they were still seeing problems with out of area appraisers that were not familiar with their market but doing work in the area. If you have a chance to talk to the appraiser when they call to set up the appointment asking them a quick question or two like I suggested in this post may go a long way in stopping problems before they begin. Lenders may not be aware that appraisal management companies (AMC’s) are using more remote appraisers due to low fees rather than appraisers that have geographic competence in the area.

I hope the information I have shared from my recent participation in the Winter Conference will help you, however if you have any questions that were not answered here feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help you understand better.

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  1. Great job getting out there, Tom. I bet they really appreciate you and your colleague.

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