Can you think of some preventative things we do in life to avoid or at least minimize problems? Oil changes, cleaning gutters, healthy eating, exercise and colonoscopies? (yeah, I went there) Granted, these things cost money. Sometimes they are downright inconvenient. However, we take these measures because, in many cases, they protect us from entering in to a much worse situation down the road.
In my experience, it seems like some people feel that real estate appraisals are just a pain. They slow down the process and cost additional money. So why have one done? Because they can serve as a protection to numerous parties involved in a purchase transaction, including the real estate agent. The following are a number of ways.
Real estate agents can hire appraisers to estimate the market value of a home before they list it. This saves time and money when a home is listed properly to the market instead of just listing a home at a “wish list” price that may be unrealistic, just to see what happens. Of course, some may wonder, “why order a pre-listing appraisal in the current market in which many buyers are hungry to purchase a home and pay more than market value?”
A few reasons that come to mind are time, money and frustration. When an appraiser performs an appraisal on a property, if it is being sold above market value, the appraisal ordered by the lender will reflect this. That means that the buyer will either has to bring money to the table, the deal falls through, or it has to be renegotiated. If a pre-listing appraisal was ordered, and if the listing price was based upon the findings in that appraisal report, it is much less likely that there will be ‘value’ issues in the process.
There are times when a home owner demands that the real estate agent list their home for more than the market will support. What can an agent do? If the agent can get them to agree to have a pre-listing appraisal completed, the appraisal may help the real estate agent to reason with the home owner about their potential listing price. The appraisal can help the seller to appreciate that the agent is not trying to list the property low. The agent is simply trying to list it at its current market value. If the seller still wants to list their home above market, when it doesn’t sell, the appraisal can also help the agent to know where to reduce the price to.
So, a pre-listing appraisal protects a real estate agent from wasting valuable time that could be spent on their next sale. The fewer the issues in a purchase agreement transaction, the happier the real estate agent’s clients are, which leads to referrals!
A post-listing appraisal is an appraisal that is completed after a home has been listed. Sometimes a home is not selling because it is listed above market value. Real estate agents can hire an appraiser to estimate the market value of a home, when the agent is having a hard time selling it. A post-listing appraisal also protects the real estate agent’s time. Time is money!
A property inspection waiver (PIW) is where a lender may indicate to a buyer that an appraisal is not necessary to obtain the loan. If a buyer qualifies for a PIW, and the real estate agent does not advise the buyer that they need to obtain a real estate appraisal to ensure that they are not over-paying for the property, this could be problematic down the road for the real estate agent. If, down the road, the buyer goes to sell their home only to find out that they are stuck because they over-paid originally, they may decide to sue someone. Who are they likely to sue? Probably the real estate agent for starters. So it is in the best interest of the real estate agent to encourage the buyer to still obtain a real estate appraisal, even if the bank says they don’t need one. Most standard purchase agreement forms have an appraisal contingency. That allows the buyer to get out of an escrow if the appraisal comes in too low for the loan to take place at the current purchase price. Typically, the only appraisal completed is for the lender. However, the contingency form doesn’t state that it has to be an appraisal from a lender. (A very important fact for an agent to keep in mind!) In a contingency situation, the buyer can have an appraisal completed to ensure that they are not over-paying for the home.
The truth of the matter is that, in this scenario, the home owner will still have to obtain a retrospective appraisal in order to prove that they over-paid when they purchased the property originally. So at the end of the day, the buyer didn’t really avoid obtaining an appraisal. They just postponed it. If a home owner orders an appraisal for litigation purposes, I can assure you that the fee will be substantially higher than it would have been for an appraisal for the purpose of a purchase. Not to mention the money lost due to having over-paid for a home to begin with.
Having an appraisal completed doesn’t just protect the buyer. It protects the real estate agent as well! I have a feeling that based upon the president set by the Tindell vs. Murphy case, our work as appraisers might become more appreciated by buyers and agents as time goes on.
One of the most common issues I find when the market value is below the purchase price, is an error in the gross living area in public records. If the agent lists a home based upon inaccurate gross living area (GLA), this will lead to problems. The appraiser from the lender will measure the home. If the home is smaller in GLA than what public records reflect, and if the agent based their price opinion off of data from public records, this ends up leading to value issues.
So hiring an appraiser to measure a property before determining a list price, can protect a real estate agent from mis-pricing a home based upon inaccurate information. And yes, there are appraisers that offer measuring services without having to complete an appraisal. I do.
FHA COMPLIANCE INSPECTION BEFORE YOU LIST IT
When selling a home in which there is a potential that it will be financed with FHA financing, it can be a real time-saver to hire an appraiser to go through the home and point out any FHA violations before the home is listed. Hiring an appraiser for this situation can save the real estate agent time and aggravation.
Real estate agents and appraisers have very different roles in real estate. When agents and appraisers work together, wonderful things can happen. I personally enjoy working with real estate agents! I have a lot of respect for the work that do. While having an appraisal, or an appraisal related service like home measuring, may slow down the process a little and cost more money, a little prevention can go a long way in helping protect agents down the road. If you’re an agent please keep these things in mind. Appraiser’s are here to help!
Here are some other articles and videos I enjoyed this week! I hope you will also.
Housing Tarmac-Talk: When You Love Your Job – Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller
When sellers expect buyers to pay for solar – Sacramento Appraisal Blog
Is a Pre-Listing Appraisal Still a Good Idea? – Birmingham Appraisal Blog
Bye-bye 1004MC, Hello Analysis – Ann Arbor Appraisal
Is The Housing Market Slowing? – Advantage Appraisals
4 thoughts on “5 Ways Appraisers Can Protect Real Estate Agents”
Nice job Jamie. I’ve definitely done all of the above. I find in many cases since sellers are tending to overprice in my market, I find post-list appraisals to be very relevant as a tool for agents to help sellers understand where value is at. I only recommend them if the seller is actually willing to listen and thinks an appraisal is a good idea.
Thanks so much Ryan! I find the same thing in my market as well. Great point about finding out if the seller is actually going to listen. I completed a post-listing appraisal for an agent. However the seller didn’t want to lower their asking price even though it was clear that they were listing the home above market. That was in the spring. It’s still for sale.
I ran into a situation this week where a pre-listing appraisal or just a house measure would have prevented a problem. The agent overstated the square footage and the appraisal came in short. These are all solid points for making sure your square footage and value are accurate.
Thanks Tom! Thanks for sharing. Great example. I see this fairly often also. As appraisers we really can help agents avoid some of these difficult situations if they use our services. I think it’s a much less dramatic situation if the agent and seller are armed with accurate information before listing their home. If not, problems will escalate rapidly during the loan process.