Dear Local Realtors,
You can still talk to appraisers. The Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) went into effect on May 1, 2009 and it means that loan departments and other parties cannot influence an appraiser’s opinion of value. HVCC basically means that an appraiser’s opinion should be independent and not have any outside influence to “hit the number” (meet the sales price, meet the minimum amount for loan qualification, etc…).
This sounds fairly straightforward, but the problem is that there is some confusion in the marketplace about who can speak with appraisers. For instance, last week I emailed a local Realtor to ask her about the details of one of her recent sales. I wanted to obtain information about the condition of the property and any financing terms that were not made available in MLS. The Realtor emailed me back and stated that she could no longer speak with appraisers due to the new law (HVCC). Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, but most of all it is absolutely wrong.
As far as property details, the Listing & Selling Agent are often an outstanding source of information. When we get answers to questions like, “Why did your buyer purchase this one?” or “How come this was on the market for so long?” or “What did you mean by ‘conversion’ or ‘needs TLC’ in your MLS description?”, we get valuable insight. Just think of the word “fixer”, for example, and how this one word in an MLS listing can mean anything from “infested with mold” to “needs new paint”. Discussing details like this is all a part of the appraiser’s job in analyzing the market to determine a fair market value. Besides, we are not even talking about a value here, but only property characteristics. Keep in mind too that most of the time we are asking about properties that we are not appraising anyway because we are trying to get information on potential comparables to use in an appraisal report.
HVCC simply means that nobody can influence us toward a certain value opinion. Can you still provide property details? Yes. Can you help us understand a certain neighborhood market better? Absolutely yes. Are you able to give us insight into the financing of one of your deals? Yes. Are you within the law to coerce us and influence an opinion of value? No. That’s the gist.
Your insight is valuable and providing basic information to appraisers really helps us do our job well. Thank you in advance for your communication and expertise.
Your local appraiser,