The Appraisal: 10 things your broker should do

The Appraisal:  10 things your broker should do

Appraisals are sometimes a source of confusion for both Buyers and Sellers, but usually for different reasons.

Review:  an appraisal is an opinion of value prepared by an authorized person.  In Colorado, Appraisers are licensed and regulated by the State. There are different levels of licensure, depending on the qualifications of the Appraiser.

Buyers sometimes think that the appraisal will “protect” them from overpaying.  There is a clause in the contract, after all, that says in effect: “if the appraisal doesn’t come in at contract price, you don’t have to buy the house.”  While there may be an element of truth in that kind of protection (today, anyway), you should stop thinking that.  If you need a reason, please Google “the role of appraisals and appraisers in the Global Financial Collapse of 2006-2008” or something similar.  There was nothing protective of Buyers for a long time leading up to the disaster, and you’ll be better off being a little more skeptical.

Sellers sometimes think that the Broker’s price opinion was an appraisal, or that having multiple offers (or even one offer) is some kind of assurance that the appraisal will come back at contract price.  Actually, there is some truth in the latter – competing offers should have a positive effect on value – but it’s not a given.

Why Appraisals are done.  In residential real estate, they are done to protect the lender’s interest in the property (the mortgage).  To learn more about what can go wrong I this scenario, Google  “the role of appraisals and appraisers in the Global Financial Collapse of 2006-2008”. The appraisal is ordered by the lender and paid for by the Buyer.

What can you do to make sure the appraisal goes the best way possible?  Answer: treat the appraisal just like you would a “showing:”  home is spotless, lights on, curtains open, staging in place (if applicable), etc.

Beyond that, there are several things you should expect your agent to do. The following list is advice from an appraiser to your broker; it’s adapted from “10 Things to Guarantee a Perfect Appraisal”, by Kerry Dunn, founder/chief appraiser at Dunn Appraisals, www.dunnappraisals.com

1)   Show up

Having you, the realtor, at the appraisal really helps everything run better for the appraiser.

2)   Call/Email

If you can’t show up, please make a phone call or send an email of introduction to the appraiser.

3)   Pricing

Show the appraiser the documentation that you were relying on in pricing the property.

4)   Contract

Email or hardcopy contracts are always appreciated as appraisers don’t always get them from the lender. This will ensure that the appraiser has the most recent copy/latest amend-extend of the contract.

5)   Hope for the best, plan for the worst

As with realtors, appraisers come with varied levels of experience. Keep in mind that even the most experienced of appraisers may not be intimate with the market nuances of your property or neighborhood. Educate them with what you know, in 60 seconds or less. If it takes longer than that, put it in writing and give it to the appraiser.

6)   Comps

Don’t assume that the appraiser will identify and consider the same sales/listings as you did. The appraiser may, or may not, consider the same properties in the appraisal, but at least you have disclosed them.

7)   Detail sheet

Give the appraiser a list of all updates and upgrades to the property.

8)   Sketch

If you have a sketch, please share it! Appraisers appreciate confirmation of field measurements.

9)   Just the facts

Share what you need to and let the appraiser do his/her thing. Most appraisers have a rigid property inspection process that needs to be done in silence. There is a LOT of information that needs to be absorbed in a relatively short time span. It’s best to have a conversation at the end of the inspection, not in the middle of it.

 10)  Professionalism

Expect it. Lenders expect their appraisers to look and act like professionals. If they are not, let the lender know about it.

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