5 Appraisal Blog Posts Every Real Estate Agent Should Read

Success Through Knowledge

5 Blog Post That You'll Want To Put On Your Reading ListI just realized I’ve been writing Birmingham Appraisal Blog for eight years. When I started the blog I had high hopes of creating a helpful and educational resource for anyone needing to know about how and why appraisers do what they do.

Most people do not need this type of information on a day to day basis but when they need a question answered I feel like it’s important for there to be a place where they can go for the information they need. I’ve strived to answer as many questions as possible so that no stone is left unturned.

Most of the time these questions come from agents or homeowners that email or phone me whenever they have a problem with an appraisal. With as many blog posts as I have written, there are still many topics I have not written about. By the way, if you’d like to suggest a topic leave me a comment below.

Since I started my blog back in 2010 there have been numerous other appraisers that have also decided to provide consumers with information about the appraisal process. These blogs focus on various aspects of valuation and range from local market reports to consumer advocacy. Still, others focus on the appraisers themselves and how they can run their businesses more efficiently or provide more accurate reports.

One segment of the market I focus on in my writing is real estate agents. Agents are involved in the appraisal process almost daily with their sales transactions.

Today I thought I would share with you some appraisal blog posts from other appraisers (and one from me 😉 ). I’ve picked these particular post’s because I think they are relevant to agents and will help them in their day to day dealings. These posts help explain a concept or process that will provide agents with a better understanding of how and why appraisers do what they do. If you’re not an agent, that’s cool too because I think anyone can learn from these articles.

5 Appraisal Blog Posts Every Real Estate Agent Should Read

1) How Land Contributes to Value- This article comes from Jamie Owen who writes the Cleveland Appraisal Blog. If you think you know everything about land and how to value it you may want to think again. Jamie does an excellent job of describing how land contributes to value.

Vacant land appraisal requires the appraiser to consider numerous aspects of the land. It is possible that that value of vacant land may vary from a similar parcel that has an improvement on it.

Supply and demand and the scarcity of land also influence what people are willing to pay for it and hence its value. Jamie also touches on large land parcels that can either be considered surplus land or excess land.

2) What’s The Value of a Basement?- This article was written by Rachel Massey who writes her blog atbasement add value Ann Arbor Appraisal. I changed the name of the article for purposes of my blog because I did not want the original title of “Grouped Data Analysis” to scare agents away.

I get so many questions from agents asking me what the value of a basement is that I thought including this post would be helpful to them. Rachel does a good job of explaining in simple terms how she goes about extracting the value of a basement from MLS sales.

I don’t want agents to think that they have to be experts at using Excel but learning a little about it can open up big opportunities for them to explore the plentiful data that MLS services provide.

I wrote a blog post a while back about how agents can use graphing to help them do their job better, so you may also want to go back and take a look at it.

3) It’s not all about square footage in real estate- Ryan Lundquist is the author of this blog post about square footage in real estate. He is one of the reasons I started my blog 8 years ago and his blog is still going strong. Ryan has become a well known and respected appraisal expert in Sacramento, California.

I chose this particular post of his because it addresses a sometimes confusing topic. I see too many agents and owners focusing solely on square footage to estimate the value of their home.

Ryan dispels several myths about square footage that many people believe. I have found that there are no concrete rules in real estate and the best answer is sometimes “it depends”. You see, this is why it is not easy for appraisers to give straight answers to anyone asking us questions about value.

Most of the time appraisers must study the market before they can give an answer about a properties value or value trends in an area. One of the main tasks of an appraiser is to analyze the market and that requires time to study value trends for the type of property and for the area.

I think you will appreciate Ryan’s perspective on this highly misunderstood metric in real estate.

4) Which Model Should I Use?- With the increased use of spreadsheets in the appraisal process, I thought I would include a blog post by an appraiser well versed in this subject. This one was written by Joe Lynch who is a strong proponent of studying market trends through the use of spreadsheet programs such as Excel, R, and Gnumeric.

This particular post dealt with an issue that I have seen cause problems recently. In many areas across the country property values are increasing, however, it is sometimes difficult to show this in an appraisal. Joe gives an example of how he was able to analyze recent sales to support a time adjustment that reflected upward property value trends.

Again, real estate agents do not have to become experts in Excel but studying how appraisers come up with their value opinions and the adjustments for the appraisal can be useful to them in understanding how and why appraisers do what they do.

Four areas the appraiser will not include in your homes square footage5) Four areas the appraiser will not include in your homes square footage- I wrote this blog post over three years ago and to this day it continues to get comments and website traffic. I have included it here because I believe that it helps agents and owners understand which areas of a home contributes the most to its overall value.

The most common questions I get relate to finished areas in a home that are not directly connected to the main heated and cooled living space. Examples of these types of rooms include basements, garage apartments, and attics.

Most people are surprised when they find out that an apartment in a detached garage does not get the same value as a similar room that is accessed through the main living area of the house. I encourage you to read this post, especially if you had a recent appraisal and the value was not as high as you thought it might be. I think it will help you understand how appraisers must treat these types of areas.


If you have any comments please them in the section below, I’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Very cool Tom. Thank you so much for the mention and kind words. Sorry for the slight delay in response too as I was out of town. Thanks again.

  2. Rachel Massey says

    Thanks for the mention Tom. I am working on a new one of these showing correlation with cost as well. Will share when done. Keeps going to the back burner due to time constraints

  3. Wow, thanks for the love. Not sure anyone ever read that post…..

    • Well, I’m not sure about how many people read it but I found it very helpful and thought it might provide some insight for agents about how we perform appraisals. I hope this makes them better agents.

  4. Hi Tom! Thanks so much for mentioning my article! I am honored and really appreciate your kind words! Eight years of blogging is so impressive! It takes a lot of work to blog that many articles and keep in interesting. But you always do a great job of making the information timely, informative and enjoyable to read. I have learned a lot about what makes a great blog by reading yours every week. I aspire to be like you, a great appraiser and blogger. Keep up the great work! And thanks again for your support!

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