Should a Realtor Meet the Appraiser?

October 20, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The Appraiser is an objective party in the real estate transaction. There should be no outside influence on his opinion of value. So what’s the point of a Realtor meeting the Appraiser when he does an inspection?

Well, to be honest with you, it all depends on your knowledge of appraisal practice, your confidence in the Appraiser assigned to the home, and your own knowledge of the market of the home.

If you:

  • know enough about how appraisals are done
  • know that three model matches sold within the past few months within a mile of the subject
  • know that those sales closed for prices that are higher than your subject property contract price
  • know that your house is nicer than those aforementioned comparable properties
  • know that all three closed sales were listed in the Multiple Listing Service
  • know that all three closed sales were listed correctly in the Multiple Listing Service
  • know that all three closed sales were arms-length transactions

…then you really don’t need to mee the Appraiser. This is what’s known in the industry as a “lay-up” or a “slam-dunk”. Not sure why they are basketball references, but oh well.

But if you answered no to any of these questions above, then you have to start thinking about things. If you answered no to more than one of these questions, then you have what could be called a complex appraisal.

What that means is that the Appraiser will have to really earn their pay by finding appropriate sales, considering the local market and recent transactions. Now there might be three sales but one is a bigger home, one is a smaller home and one has a swimming pool (while the subject doesn’t). And the Appraiser will use those sales and make adjustments accordingly to determine market value. But as your transaction gets murkier and murkier, then the Appraiser will have to pull out more experience and knowledge in order to find appropriate comparables.

Say there are no sales within a mile. There are no sales within 3-6 months. The subject is 2000 square feet and the most recent sale is a 3500 square foot house from 7 months ago. Well, now we’re getting into a situation where it’s a good idea that you meet the Appraiser. You’re not going there to try and influence him or strongarm him or act like he’s an idiot. You want to meet him to help educate him on the transaction and how it came about.

Assuming that the buyer loves the home, has done his research and the seller is agreeable with the contract price, then obviously there is some sort of meeting of the minds. That’s where you as a Realtor comes in. Here’s a little insight- I cover Maricopa AND Pinal county. That’s a lot of land. And I can honestly say that I’ve appraised homes in every city or town within those counties. But that doesn’t mean that I have intimate knowledge of each and every one. One of my clients does a lot of business in Fountain Hills- which is about an hour from our office. So I know that area pretty well. Of course when clients look me up online they typically find me because of where my office is based, so you bet that I know my own town. But there are some cities that I might do an appraisal in once a month. And with so many neighborhoods within each city, it’s even less frequent that I do the same neighborhood more than once per year.

The Realtor on the other hand usually sells within a certain area, or takes buyers to a certain area, so they know their neighborhood very well. Is the school district way better than everywhere else? Did they just open a new shopping center which everyone loves? Are most listings sold within a few weeks while neighboring cities might sellin 3-6 months? Those are factors that the Realtor should have good knowledge on. Don’t get me wrong, the Appraiser should know enough about the neighborhood to do the appraisal, but you never know.

So, if you feel that there might be a value issue with the appraisal based on any factors mentioned above, or any other ones not mentioned, then tell the Appraiser that you have prepared some information that he could use. Don’t say it in a way like he’s an idiot- because he just might tell you to not bother (yes we have egos too, and nobody likes to be told how to do their own job). But then bring printouts of the comparables that the buyer considered. Bring printouts of the closed sales that you best feel represent the market- and hand write notes about the property- someone died there, rental property that was trashed, major remodel, etc. Bring printouts of recent newspaper articles that might show great hightlights of the community. Bring data that shows why this neighborhood is one of the rare pockets that is not declining in value. Bring your business card. Bring a bottle of water (if the Appraiser refuses, then guess what- you have a bottle of water to drink!).

Here’s the worst case scenario- you leave, the Appraiser leaves, and when he’s at Starbucks, he throws your data away without even looking at it. But a good Appraiser will appreciate this rare jesture and he will compare your data to his, and he will throw away the ones that he’s already found- heck, he might have the exact same data that you have. But I’ll tell you from my personal experience… Every once in a while the Realtor provides me with a sale that I didn’t find. Either the zip code was wrong in MLS, or it was listed in the wrong grid, or maybe it just closed the day before. Every once in a while I find that I’m in one of those Twilight Zone pockets where there is a waiting list to buy a home and people ARE still paying a premium (very very very rare).

And if you are able to meet Appraisers like this without coming across as a know it all Realtor who’s too busy and is too important and too good looking, then you will gain the respect of someone who meets a lot of homeowners. Who knows, you might even get some business out of establishing that relationship with an Appraiser whom you might never see again. We’re all a team in the real estate industry so it baffles me when I encounter a loan officer, an escrow officer, a Realtor, or even a homeowner who just can’t help but make things difficult for the rest of the team.

Visit our website at http://www.advantageappraisalsllc.com/, and if that doesn’t roll off the tongue, just try http://www.appraiserdude.com/. Give me a call at 480-544-1217 if you have any questions. I look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

George

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