There are many misconceptions regarding real estate agent’s ability to communicate with appraisers. It feels like some agents have been taught that if they speak to or look directly at the appraiser, they might spontaneously combust! Many real estate agents have told me that they are not sure what they can discuss with the appraiser. So, let’s clear it up a little.
WHAT APPRAISERS CANNOT TALK TO AGENTS ABOUT
The appraiser cannot discuss the value or potential value of the home being appraised. In Ohio, it is a fifth degree felony to attempt to coerce or steer an appraiser to hit a certain value. Of course, just talking about value does not mean that someone is trying to coerce or steer an appraiser in a certain direction. Nonetheless, an appraiser cannot discuss value with anyone other than their client, or those that their client gives the appraiser permission to. That seems like it should be more of a common sense thing anyway, right?
However, there is a lot of other information that agents can discuss with the appraiser, that is relevant to the valuation process. Let’s talk about some things we can discuss.
WHAT APPRAISERS CAN TALK WITH AGENTS ABOUT
What do agents and appraisers have the green light to talk about?
We can talk about what’s going on in the neighborhood. What are buyers doing? How are they reacting to different features of a home? Is that fifth bedroom or fourth bathroom making a big difference in market appeal? Is that new open shelving style kitchen popular in this area, or not so much?
We can talk about the condition of the home being appraised. Providing the appraiser with a list of recent improvements is very helpful. While the appraiser will probably already note these, sometimes we may miss something that is not obvious. If the kitchen or bathrooms were updated, it’s helpful to know how long ago.
Agents and appraisers can talk about home upgrades and updates, and even how the condition of the property being appraised compares to other sales in the neighborhood. Appraiser’s rely heavily upon MLS notes and interior photos when choosing comparable sales. However, sometimes the MLS information does not tell the whole story about that sale. Usually agents have a better understanding about the condition of some of the other potentially comparable sales in the neighborhood. Agents usually also have a better understanding about some of the situations surrounding some sales, that the appraiser might not be aware of. Sharing that information with the appraiser can be very helpful.
If an agent has sales that they feel are comparable, there is nothing wrong with offering them to the appraiser. If the appraiser doesn’t feel comfortable taking them, that’s okay. If they do take them, it’s not a guarantee that they will use them. But they might. There is nothing wrong with offering the appraiser potential comparable sales and other data that might be helpful. A professional appraiser is not going to take being offered this information as trying to coerce them into hitting a specific value.
Another bit of information that is helpful is letting the appraiser know if there have been multiple bids on the property. It helps to provide the appraiser with a better picture of the market’s perception of the home. Appraisers need the full picture and real estate agents often have information that provides us with a more complete picture.
WAYS TO STAY CONNECTED WITH APPRAISERS
There are many great ways to stay in contact with appraisers. If you’re reading this blog, that is one great way. And thank you for being here! At the end of my articles I provide links to other articles and news letters from awesome appraisers around the country. Please go to the home page of this blog and click on the “Appraisers Making A Difference” button. You will find links to many other great appraisers who publish articles for the public to benefit from.
You can also follow me on social media. It’s a way to connect, network and have some fun in the process. I am on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest. Visit my website noted below in order to find a link to my social media sites.
You can always call me directly on my cell phone at (440) 263-7888 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit my other website at www.aspenappraisalservices.net. There I have some other free resources for the public, including a monthly County Market Report and helpful information on specific cities. I will soon be adding a page that will feature charts and graphs that better explain what’s happening in my local market in a more visual way.
Another fun way to have your appraisal questions answered is to have me visit your office. I can talk about any appraisal questions you may have. It’s free! I’ll bring the coffee, bagels, donuts or perhaps something gluten-free if you prefer. 😃 Full disclosure…I love gluten!
WHY STAY CONNECTED?
Last week I attended a national appraisal conference in which hundreds of professional appraisers came together to learn and get to know one another. There were many awesome appraisers that I had come to know on-line through blogging, social media and the like. I already knew that they were great people just by the way that they communicated with me and others. However, I still had some anxiety in meeting them. I guess just the fear of the unknown. However, when I met them in person, all of those fears melted away! I immediately saw that these were not just great appraisers, but that they were also kind people who care about others! I was so encouraged to get to know these other appraisers in person. Some of them are in the picture below, going from left to right, Tom Horn, Ryan Lundquist, me in the middle, Bill Cobb and Joe Lynch!
The point I am making is that when we meet people in person, it can take the fear out of the unknown. Appraisers, as a whole, are people who care about others. We want to provide information that protects our clients and the public. We are not the nasty deal killing cave dwellers, who carelessly pump out meaningless reports in a cavalier way. Yes, some have accused us of being this way. But it’s not true.
As appraisers, we also benefit from visiting with real estate agents. We can learn and benefit from each other’s knowledge. If you’re a real estate agent, you might find it beneficial to know a few appraisers in your area.
Most appraisers I know, including myself, want to be a resource for the public. So please don’t be afraid to talk to us!
One of my goals in the appraisal process is to make the experience enjoyable for others. I love sharing what I know with others. Meeting appraisers doesn’t have to be a dry and unfriendly encounter. I actually love it when agents meet me at the inspection! There is so much that we can learn from one another. If you’re an agent in Northeast Ohio, I look forward to meeting you soon!
Here are some other articles and videos I enjoyed this week! I hope you will also…
Housing Costumes Manhattanites’ Obsession – Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller
A hair stylist says we’re not in a bubble… – Sacramento Appraisal Blog
What Would Happen if There Were No Appraisers? – Birmingham Appraisal Blog
Dissolution Appraisal Reports – Ann Arbor Appraisal Blog
How Much is a swimming pool worth in Baton Rouge? – Baton Rouge Appraisal Blog
What Do Appraisal Clients Need? – George Dell’s Analogue Blog
The Best Real Estate Appraisal Podcasts – DW Slater Company Appraisal Blog
Acreage Property Roads – What to Consider? – Advantage Appraisals
Why You Should Join an Appraisal Organization – Yolo Solano Appraisal Blog