Talking to Appraisers in an HVCC World: Tips for Real Estate Agents

photoIt was six months ago on May 1, 2009 when the Home Valuation Code of Conduct was implemented. We all know there has been controversy and complaints galore when it comes to HVCC, and so it’s no wonder there weren’t any “Happy Sixth Month” birthday parties. Or did I miss the local HVCC celebration somehow?

Communication is a bit different now in the real estate world due to HVCC, and so this entry is designed to help foster more effective connections between Realtors and appraisers in a post-05/01/09 market. Yes, Realtors can still talk with appraisers and provide ample information about the real estate market or properties they have sold or listed. The only thing Realtors and agents cannot do is coerce or influence appraisers toward an opinion of value.

Below are some basic suggestions for things to say and not say to an appraiser during an inspection. My hope is that these tips will be very practical and useful for the field.

Tips for talking to Appraisers during an inspection:

  • Be conversational. Make a great impression on appraisers.
  • Be on time. If you are late, say sorry.
  • Helpful statements: “I’m glad to help out where I can.” “Let me know if you have any questions about the property or neighborhood.” “Call me if you need anything.”
  • Drop in some comments about the local market, supply and demand, bifurcation, new listings, REOs, price per square foot, or anything relevant you can pull out of your bag of tricks. This might help conversation emerge as well as a mutual market education too.  
  • If you want, bring a list of potential comps and say, “Would you like to see any recent sales I pulled in the neighborhood?” This way you leave it up to the appraiser to accept anything from you (no pressure), and you are not even labeling these properties as comparable in any sense either, but only saying “have a look if you’d like”. A method like this might be particularly useful if you sense on the phone that the appraiser may not be in touch with the local market for whatever reason.
  • Give a verbal or written list of all upgrades and repairs made.
  • If it’s ethical for you to do so, consider letting appraisers know how many offers, showings and calls your listing had. This type of information is often useful. Please be honest and careful not to steer a value conclusion with this information.
  • Ask appraisers for any local market insight they might have, and feel free to share your understanding also. Both Realtors and appraisers have expertise when it comes to the real estate market, so sharing knowledge is a tremendous benefit for both groups. For example, if you are aware of upcoming new construction, a thriving neighborhood association, employment trends, eminent domain issues, a school opening or closing, or other aspects of real estate in the immediate neighborhood, that could be resourceful information to discuss. 

Things NOT to say to an Appraiser during an inspection:

  • Don’t complain about HVCC. If it comes up, that’s fine, but there are more productive things to talk about (see above).
  • Don’t rant about another appraiser who “destroyed your last deal”. Talking about another appraiser like he/she is some sort of village idiot does not leave a good impression.
  • “Here are the best comps for you to use in your appraisal report” (this sounds like you are influencing an opinion of value).
  • “Is this one going to come in at value?” “Is it going to appraise for at least the sales price?” “Do your best to get the value as high as possible”. You definitely want to steer clear of value-pressuring questions or statements.

If you have any other suggestions to help appraisers and real estate agents communicate more effectively and ethically in an HVCC world, feel free to leave a comment or contact me at 916-595-3735 or ryan@lundquistcompany.com. It would be great to hear stories too of your interactions with appraisers or agents. You can comment by clicking “Continue Reading” below.

www.SacramentoAppraisalBlog.com Talking to Appraisers in an HVCC World: Tips for Real Estate Agents

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