Things agents do that appraisers hate

Things agents do that appraisers hate

For the most part I haven’t had any major problems with most of the real estate agents I communicate with during my jobThings real estate agents do that appraisers hate as a real estate appraiser. With that being said, there have been instances where my peers have shared various things agents do that appraisers hate so I thought this topic would be worth discussing.

I’m not writing this post to point fingers or lay blame but rather to bring these points up to help improve with appraiser-agent interaction. We’re all in this together, so anything I can do to help agents understand what appraisers do and why they do it I will.

We’re All In This Together

One of the things I am big on is education and I do my part to educate agents on the inner workings of appraising. This blog is one way I do this. I receive questions all the time from homeowners and real estate agents with questions about why an appraiser did what they did in their recent appraisal.

Whenever I get asked a question it’s my belief that if one person has a question then there’s probably many more wondering the same thing, so why not answer this question and share it with all?

Another thing I like to do to educate the public about appraising is to speak at local real estate offices. If you’re an agent and need a speaker to help inform and educate your agents about the appraisal process why not give me a call and we can schedule a time to visit your office.

They Did What?

Listed below are some issues I have ran into or ones that I have heard other appraisers talk about. If you have something to add, please leave a comment, I would love to hear your take.

Price listings based on what the seller wants out of the home- Appraisers get blamed for deals falling through a lot but I don’t think it’s always their fault. There are times when the deal was dead before it even got started.

Most of the time this occurs when a home has not been priced based on recent sales and listings, but instead it was listed for an amount that the owner thought it was worth, or they needed to get out of the home. Sometimes these two values may be the same but more often they are not. The bottom line is that the mortgage appraisal will be closest to the contract price when the list price is based on recent and similar sales and listings and not on feelings.

Don’t take time to get accurate square footage- When all else is equal with housing, there is a direct relationship between the size of a home and its selling price. Bigger homes typically sell for more than smaller homes.

With that being said, it’s important to know the accurate square footage of a home. When you have this information it makes it easier to compare homes and arrive at a more accurate list price. You can learn how to get accurate square footage from this recent resource guide I put together.

Don’t return phone calls- One of the things appraisers have to do during an appraisal assignment is to verify information about the comparable sales we use. This is typically done by speaking with the agents involved with the sale.

When the appraiser is not able to speak with the agent, because their call was not returned, this causes the appraisal to take longer than normal.  This can delay the loan process and possibly the closing. Appraisers are required to verify this information so they typically don’t have any way around it.

If an appraiser calls you there is a good chance they just want to ask a couple of questions about one of your sales. Believe me, appraisers greatly appreciate the information that real estate agents give them about their listings because it helps us to understand why a home sold for what it did. The price may have been affected by recent updates or even a divorce situation. This type of information is helpful for appraisers.

Wait to give relevant information until after home doesn’t appraise- It is better to provide all the information you have on a listing up front before the appraisal is completed. This will allow the appraiser to consider all the relevant information and provide a more accurate opinion of value. If the appraisal comes up short it is more difficult to reopen the appraisal and include the information that was not considered to begin with.

Not knowing what a comparable sale is- One of the most common problems I see when reviewing comparables provided by agents is their lack of “comparability”. The sales provided are based more on bracketing an estimate of value rather than the attributes of a home like its square footage, age, and features.

There is a big difference between a sale and comparable and its important to know what they are. By using homes that are true comparables rather than just sales there is less chance of a deal falling through.


Do you have any questions about how agents and appraisers can work together more effectively? If so leave a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going. As always, thanks for reading.

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  1. Get angry, stay angry. That’s the rule for appraisers vs realty agents. Not really, but that seems to be the deal lately. In CO markets have ramped up tremendously for years now. Smart agents are offering cash contingency over appraised MV to secure the deals. I had an appraisal the other day where the unit listed at noon, had 50 showings scheduled by that evening, and the cut off showings by the morning and selected the best of a dozen contracts by that morning. Winning offer; Contingency to go $X over appraised value with a second (but most annoying) contingency to auto bid up over other offers. The over MV contingency was smart and welcome. That is the mechanism by which markets climb and reach new levels, via cash contribution. The auto bid contingency is not welcome, and agents are giving too much trust to other agents if they think they can police and audit that sort of approach for honest compliance. How real estate in CO has worked through all of 2015 and 2016; Open your pocketbook and close your eyes. Agents voicemail boxes are full lately and they’ll do corny things like call back my UC verification call, like a week later. Things agents do that I the appraiser hate; Just about everything as a standard rule of thumb. I’m in place in an antagonistic position so no amount of sweet talking will make a difference. Make my job easy by lining up deals correctly, or you will get to deal with me and will get more than you bargained for. I bury unruly agents in data if they try and wrangle me around. Comps? I’ve got those. By the stacks. Which ones should we look at, sit down for a few hours with me here….. No no, don’t go anywhere, stay on the phone, I’ve got important appraisal deadlines here and your order is up now. (Evil laugh).

  2. I’m like you Tom, there is really nothing that agents do or do not do that irritates me, but I know that I am an exception among appraisers. I understand the agent’s job and, for the most part, I think agents in my area are working very hard to do things right. I do wish that the information in the local MLS was more accurate and that all homes had a floor plan sketch uploaded for reference. Our office emails or calls almost every agent on an appraisal assignment and agents are usually quite responsive and willing to answer our questions. Over time, we learned to coax important information from agents by asking questions in a way that they understand specifically what we’re looking for. We don’t ask, “What is the condition of that property?” Instead we ask, “Was that property well cared for or highly worn and when were the updates done?”

    • Glad you pointed out that for the most part agents are trying. I think it helps when we as appraisers take an active role in educating them about the appraisal process.

      • Leigh Ann Wilson says

        Excellent information! Really informative. We do try hard to do it right. Some sellers just really do not want the real truth, unfortunately, and it makes our job so much harder-just like it does for appraisers. Btw-truly like the addition of the floor plan to a listing. Too bad most people don’t have these. Thanks

        • Thanks Leigh Ann. I understand about some sellers. Sometimes they have a number fixed in their mind and it is hard to change it. I agree about the floor plan as it adds a little extra to the listing that not everybody does and helps the buyer visualize the home better.

  3. Tom Markoski says

    Everything appraisers do has a paper (documentable) trail. Email is hands down the most efficient and reliable proof an appraiser can produce if needed. To rely on a verbal discussion with an agent, does not compare to using email. Besides, how do you prove your case 1oo% from a two way phone verbal discussion? If it’s serious it needs to be documented and that means email.

  4. Now you’re asking for the post from an agent called, “Things appraisers do that agents hate.” 🙂 Regarding phone calls, I really appreciate it when phone calls are returned. I like to tell agents I am calling other agents to find out information about the comps I’m using in my report. Sometimes the information I get can make a big difference in the value. It’s easy to think that could not be the case, but value is all about context. How did the market respond to the property? Why did buyers offer a higher or lower amount? And how does the subject property really compare with the “comp”? Information from agents often helps me sift the context of how the subject and comp fit into the market, so it is critical at times. Thank you agents for returning calls.

    • True Ryan. I am sure they could probably write a lot about what appraisers do that they hate as well. I hope they understand that what we really want is for appraisers and agents to work together for the betterment of the industry. I feel like we do our part in trying to educate them as to what we need and how they can think like an appraiser. I would never complain or point fingers without trying to offer a solution. Thanks for your thoughts on how the comps give us context and help us to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

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