A reader reached out to me recently to share a story about his real estate agent telling him NOT to tell the appraiser about a particular issue with his house. This made him feel uncomfortable, so he asked my advice about what to do.
Should you keep secrets from the appraiser? I’m not saying you are obligated to go out of your way to disclose faults about your house to the appraiser, though if you are deliberately holding back important information that might impact value (or being told to do so), that’s not a good situation. The appraiser of course is responsible to research issues and uncover information, but if there is something that is being intentionally hidden from the appraiser, it starts to smell a bit like….. fraud. I’m not talking about disclosing that the kitchen faucet is broken or even that the bathroom sink is leaking, but rather hiding larger ticket items or issues that might really sway buyers to pay far less for a house.
10 Things You Probably Shouldn’t Hide from the Appraiser:
- The house used to be a pot house.
- The house used to be a meth lab.
- There is an encroachment issue on the property.
- The addition was done without permits.
- There was a heinous crime that previously occurred on the property.
- There was a suicide on the property.
- The foundation is failing.
- There is a toxic issue on the site.
- The roof is leaking.
- Other: What do you think?
My advice? Don’t try to hide anything from the appraiser. While you may not have to legally disclose certain issues, if you are asked a pointed question by an appraiser, be honest. If this is a purchase transaction, disclose according to your state laws so the appraiser can at least consider the information and whether it impacts value or not. If you are a real estate agent or loan officer, you might want to be cautious about saying, “Don’t tell the appraiser” since that extra information might actually make a difference for the appraised value.
Any thoughts, questions or stories to share?