Are you doing all you can to work with appraisers? The appraisal is one of the most important parts of a real estate transaction, yet many agents have a very hands-off approach when it comes to communicating with appraisers. Sure, you don’t want to pressure for a certain value, and it can be hit and miss whether the appraiser will even talk with you. But at the same time there are definitely things real estate agents can do to help communication flow, which in turn can make a huge difference in the appraised value. Enjoy some practical tips below. Anything you’d add?
BEFORE THE INSPECTION:
- Let your seller know how intentional you are about communicating with appraisers. This will help you look good.
- Make a great impression on appraisers. In an industry that tends to think of appraisers as a necessary inconvenience, why not stand out from the crowd? What does it look like to represent your industry well? Do that.
- Choose to have a positive attitude about this next transaction even if your last deal didn’t go well because of the appraisal.
- Make a written list of all upgrades to give to the appraiser (with costs). Or have your seller make the list for you. Use my information sheet format if it works for you.
- Choose some competitive sales and listings you used to price the property. Write out any significant differences between the “comps” and the subject property at the top of each MLS sheet. You might know something important about some of these properties that isn’t obvious. Share that type of stuff because it can make a huge difference sometimes in the appraised value. Make sure your “comps” really are competitive though. This means a buyer would theoretically purchase them instead of the subject property.
- Make arrangements for the appraiser to have access to all rooms and structures at the property.
- Realize the appraiser may have just received this order and probably has one week to complete it.
- Please make sure the dog is tied up (have your seller pick up the poop too).
- Prime the meeting, “I’ll have some information for you”. Is there anything you need from me?
DURING THE INSPECTION:
- Be the professional and give off a personable vibe. Be awesome.
- Be emotionally fresh (don’t bring appraisal baggage from the last transaction)
- Don’t rant about the last appraiser who was an idiot.
- Say “hello” to the appraiser first before talking on your phone and returning emails.
- You might want to ask the appraiser if it would be best to chat before the inspection begins or after the inspection. Plan to have a brief conversation.
- Helpful statements: “Let me know if you have any questions about the property or neighborhood” or “Call me if you need anything.”
- Share your list of potential comps and say, “Here are some sales I used to price the property.” You’re only saying “have a look at my research” instead of “Here are your comps to use”.
- Give a written list of all upgrades and repairs made.
- Share insider information. How many offers, showings and calls did your listing have? What were buyers attracted to about the house? What sort of feedback did you get from agents? This type of information is often useful because it’s market data for the appraiser to consider. Please be honest.
- Share any neighborhood information you might have. Is there something you know about the street or community that impacts value (or will impact value)?
- You can walk around with the appraiser, but don’t hover. It’s probably best to give a little space so the appraiser is not distracted. Remember too if you walk into a room first, this means the appraiser will have to wait for you to get out of the way to take a photo.
- Point out anything you think the appraiser should know about.
- Avoid subtle pressure statements (I hope it “appraises”, I really need this to “make value”, You shouldn’t have any trouble “meeting value”)
- Get the appraiser’s business card.
AFTER THE INSPECTION:
- Hope and pray the value will be okay. 🙂
- Email the appraiser to say it was nice to meet and that you are available for any further questions (remember, you got the appraiser’s business card).
- Remember the appraiser probably has a number of days or even one week to finish the appraisal (so don’t call multiple times).
- When the appraisal report is finished, pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy an enthralling read (that’s sacasm). Seriously though, as you open up an appraisal report, forget about minor clerical or spelling errors. Focus on issues that can really sway value. Is the square footage and bed/bath count correct? Does the value make sense for the neighborhood? Are the comps good substitutions for the subject property? Do adjustments make sense? Are the neighborhood boundaries correct? Was the market described correctly? (increasing, declining, stable)
- If the value is off-base, you can use the lender’s rebuttal system to challenge the appraisal. It won’t do you much good to contact the appraiser directly, so use the lender/loan officer as a vehicle to help communicate with the appraiser. If you end up asking for a reconsideration of value, focus on critiquing comps and give the appraiser at least two other sales to consider. Try to build a case for why the value should be re-examined rather than making an emotional argument void of market support. Don’t suggest a target value either, but let your research speak for itself.
I hope this was helpful.
Questions: Anything you’d add? What have you learned about working with appraisers?