The difference between Realtors and Appraisers

Have you felt the tension between Realtors and appraisers? It’s not always there, but it sure is sometimes. There’s often latent frustration from transactions gone sour, “low” appraisals or agents pressuring for certain values. But beyond mere annoyance or anger, whether legitimate or not, tension is actually something to be expected since there really are some big differences between Realtors and appraisers. Here is a list I came up with.

Realtors & Appraisers

This post pokes a bit of fun at the industry and stereotypes, so just roll with the good nature of it. No offense is meant. Obviously not all real estate agents drive luxury cars and I’ve never actually met an appraiser with a mullet (not yet). Let me clarify too what I mean by “people skills” in the appraisal category. I’ve heard constant feedback from real estate agents of appraisers who are  impersonal, non-talkative during inspections and come across as anal in their communication. This is why I say the appraisal industry needs to freshen up on communication skills. It’s still possible to remain neutral and unbiased while being personable. I have nothing but love for my appraiser colleagues.

Advocate vs. Neutral Party: Most importantly, it’s crucial to understand that Realtors are advocates, while appraisers are a neutral party to the transaction. This is obvious, but I think it’s often misunderstood because we continually hear how appraisers need to “help” the housing market recover, as if it’s their moral responsibility. Ultimately, appraisers are interpreters for the housing market instead of helpers. Granted, I understand what people are saying with this type of language since there are shoddy appraisals that do negatively impact the market. But there is still a valid point to consider here since appraisers are fundamentally not helpers, advocates or tied to the transaction in the same way real estate agents are. An agent works to get the highest price for the seller or best opportunity for the buyer (and earn money when the deal closes), but the appraiser’s job is not to get the highest price or best scenario for either party, but rather measure the market and record findings in an appraisal report.

Helpful Articles: It’s my constant goal to be a resource to Realtors and build strong relationships. I hope this article was helpful and maybe made you chuckle. In case it’s relevant, feel free to check out Agents, be ready to answer these questions from appraisers, or Talking to appraisers in today’s changing real estate market (with infographic), or Why did it appraise “low” even with multiple offers?.

Anything else you’d add to the list? I’d love to hear your comments.

If you have any questions or Sacramento area real estate appraisal or property tax appeal needs, contact me by phone 916-595-3735, email, Twitter, subscribe to posts by email or “like” my page on Facebook


  1. says

    Haircut…”polished versus mullet”? C’mon, I’m not so sure about that one. In fact, I have yet to work with an appraiser who sported a mullet. Anyway the most differences have to do with the training and the impartiality. There’s just no way a real estate agent can be as accurate or as unbiased.

    • says

      Mike, I mentioned in the post I was joking about that (as you’ll see in the paragraph directly below the image). You’re right about the main point. That’s what I wanted to get across. This main difference of unbiased vs. advocate is something that is often misunderstood in the marketplace.


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