Three Tips for A Successful Appraisal

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The appraisal process has been a source of frustration for everyone involved in a real estate transaction over the past 3 years.  We get appraisers from Novi appraising a property in Sterling Heights or someone from Davisburg doing an appraisal in Birmingham.  Some specific appraisers and appraisal companies (who I will not mention) seem to just do a poor job every time.  How do you exercise some control over these issues?

We would prefer an appraiser that has some solid experience – someone who has only been licensed for a year or two may not have the same competence level as a seasoned professional

An appraiser should have geographic competence – this means they should have a strong knowledge base of the market the subject property is in.  I have found we get the best results when the appraiser lives in the same area as the subject home is located

If you feel a specific appraiser has done a poor job in the past don’t use them again – you should keep track of the appraisers and appraisal companies that handle each transaction and note if the work was good or not.  Sometimes an appraisal will come in low but it’s well thought out and documented.  In that case there isn’t much to complain about.  However, if the appraiser makes bad comp choices or adjustments you don’t agree with then you don’t want them working for you

Here are my three tips to a more successful appraisal:

1)      Ask the appraiser about their experience – when the appraiser contacts you to schedule an appointment to see the home ask them how long they have been licensed.  You want someone with adequate experience and a track record
2)      Ask the appraiser about their knowledge of your market – if the appraiser lives in the same general area as the property it’s more likely that they have the knowledge of the area that’s required to properly value the house
3)      Don’t allow too much time to elapse between contact and appointment date – OK, this is just my own opinion, but, if the appraiser calls you on a Monday and you schedule the appointment for the following Saturday then the appraiser has a lot of time to come up with a pre-conceived notion of how much the home is worth before they even see it.  They may have the report pretty much done and comps selected before you have a chance to meet them and provide your own sales data

Please be gentle with these questions!  We don’t want to set a sour tone with this person.  Start by saying that you just want to make sure the person doing the job knows the market and is experienced.  “Where are you from and how long have you been doing appraisals?”

If the answers you get to these questions make you nervous then you have the right to tell the appraiser that you want someone else assigned.  Yes, that’s right!  You can decide if you are happy with the person assigned and if not get someone else.  The appraiser will have to report back to the management company and they will assign the job to a different appraiser. 

Take control of the appraisal process and you’ll get better results!


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