What Realtors Can Do When They Disagree With An Appraisal

I’ve been asked by Realtors numerous times recently about what they can do if they do not agree with an appraisal value.  The creation of the HVCC in 2009 made it difficult for the Realtor, loan officer, and appraiser to communicate as freely as they had in the past.  This was done primarily to prevent undue influence in the appraisal process.  In the pre HVCC world some Realtors and loan officers could (and would) call the appraiser  and communicate their disagreement regarding the appraisal value.  At times this could result in appraisal values that were inaccurate.

In the post HVCC world the process for contesting an appraisal must be done differently, however it can still be done.  If someone disagrees with an appraisal the reason for the disagreement needs to be communicated to the appraiser through the party ordering the appraisal, which has recently been the Appraisal Management Company (AMC) or the appraisal department within the bank or mortgage company.  An appraisal value can be wrong because the physical data collected about the house being appraised is wrong.  Appraisers are fallible too, and they may not have measured the house accurately, or some other information about the house was not state correctly on the appraisal.  Sometimes the size of the site or lot is not correct and the lot value was wrong because of this.

If all the information about the house is correct you may want to look at the comparables used.  All appraisers are not the same in this respect.  Some out of town appraisers may not have access to the local MLS, or the data source for the sales used may not provide accurate physical data about the comparables.  An example of this is the area I perform appraisals in, which is the greater Birmingham, Alabama metro area.  There is a group of appraisers that belong to the Appraiser Group Data Association (AGDA).  This group collects and shares physical data about homes that have recently sold.  This is a necessity in our area because the MLS has only recently started providing an option for Realtors to show the gross living area of the homes, and most still do not contribute this information.  The only other source for this data is county records, which is not always accurate.  If  incorrect gross living area is used this could over or understate the value.

Whatever the reason for the disagreement, the disputed information should be provided to the appraiser through whoever ordered the appraisal so that it can be reviewed.  If the new information does provide valid data to change the value, it can be adjusted.  As long as the request is valid and addresses true inaccuracies, or the exclusion of better comparables, most appraisers do not mind a “reconsideration of value”.  Have you ever requested that the appraiser look at sales you have provided to them, and if so were they able to adjust the value?

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.

Comments

  1. I just had an appraisal done on a house I was interested in purchasing. The house was listed as having 3 bedrooms. Although they were small there were three. It also had a small loft overlooking the living room completely open in the front. I knew in my mind the house was a little over priced but I was going to run with pending the appraisal. The appraisal was done on but it took 7 days for it to be completed. This is a small house. They came back with the loft as a 4th bedroom. As I said this is a small open room so they compared the house to a 4 bedroom house. What are my options?
    Emma Fields

    • Most appraisers are booked up these days due to a larger number of refinances and purchases which has extended turn times, however 7 days is not unrealistic. Without seeing the house it would be hard to comment on whether the loft room should have been counted as as bedroom but even if it was not the appraised value would still reflect the square footage in this space. If you do not agree with the value you do have the option of contesting the appraisal, however you will need to communicate with the loan officer about it. If you have some sales that you feel are similar to the home you are buying you can provide them to the loan officer who will then give them to the appraiser for them to look at. Good luck.

  2. Good information Tom! You appraisers have slipped behind the curtain on us in the post-HVCC era. It’s good to know there are still channels available to have discussions on value if needed. By the way, the square footage field in the Birmingham MLS only gives you 2 options for the source of the sq. footage information….tax records, or previous appraisal. The problem is that the tax records are usually inaccurate so if the owner doesn’t have an appraisal to pull from we don’t have accurate data to include in MLS. I guess they don’t want to allow for Realtors measuring & calculating the GLA. Probably with good reason! I’m one of them so I can say that!

    • Chad, thanks for your comments. You are right, we do not get to interact as much since HVCC, but as long as we are not talking values of the house you are selling and I am appraising, we can still communicate. I like to pick the brains of Realtors because you guys have first hand knowledge about how the buyer thinks. Don’t forget that we appraisers can help you if you need to have a house measured. It’s a service I offer to help you communicate the correct square footage to potential buyers.

  3. Your MLS does not publish the square footage of recent sales?

    • Up until about 6 months ago they did not publish GLA, however they recently gave the option to add it to new listings, but most agents still do not participate in it.

  4. Great post. There is still a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to disputing a real estate appraisal. You are right, correct and accurate data is key to an accurate appraisal. Some of Georgia has a data source similar to your AGDA that provides accurate information about GLA. I usually don’t mind someone disputing my appraisal if like you said, ” the request is valid and addresses true inaccuracies, or the exclusion of better comparables”.

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