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When the Appraised Value Doesn’t Meet Your Goal

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We are well into the football season! That is, American football. Of all of the players on a team, the kicker may be one of the most unappreciated positions. When they make the goal, that’s great, but then again, they were expected to! Right? No one thinks much about the importance of the kicker, until they miss a goal. Especially when doing so plays a part in the team losing the game. Then all the sudden, they are the bad guy.


While that may be the case, the kicker plays an important role in football. They are a critical part of the team. According to the article entitled “Why the Field Goal Kicker in Football Should be Important to Gamblers” by Brenton Kemp, there are at least three reasons why the kicker is so important:

  1. Kickers always lead the NFL in scoring.
  2. Kickers affect how a coach calls a game.
  3. So many games are decided by late field goals.

Like a kicker on a football team, appraisers might be said to be in a similar situation. Appraisers are a critical part of the loan process. If an appraiser’s opinion of value meets the expectations of the intended user, and other parties involved, no one thinks much about them. They are viewed as a process that is meant to do nothing more than validate what all the other parties already know, or at least think they know.  Often, appraisers are viewed as an unnecessary speedbump.

However, when the appraiser’s opinion if value is less than a purchase price, or is less than a homeowner needs it to be to achieve their goal of obtaining a loan, suddenly, the appraiser becomes the villain.



The appraiser’s goal is not to hit a number, like a purchase price. The appraiser’s goal is to develop a well-supported opinion of value that reflects the factors that influence market value, for the property being appraised. That opinion can be a single number, as is the case with appraisals for lending purposes. However, a more realistic value would be in the form of a range. In real life, a value range is more supportable than a single number. However, since lending requires a single number from the appraiser, appraiser’s have to develop a specific number for their opinion of value.

The goal of the appraiser is different than the goal of the buyer, the seller, the loan officer, the real estate agent and/or other parties involved.

If the appraiser’s developed opinion is at or above the purchase price, or other anticipated price, all is good. But, what happens if the appraiser’s opinion of value is less than the anticipated amount hoped for?


If your home is being appraised for a bank, and you feel that the opinion of value is not reflective of the market, you can contact the bank and ask for a reconsideration of value. When this happens, there is a shift in burden. It is now up to you to bring support for your claim.

Keep in mind that during the appraisal process, the appraiser has likely analyzed a lot more data about neighborhood market trends and sales. They usually have more data resources that they can use. More often than not, any sale, or sales, that you present to the appraiser, were likely to have already been considered. Of course, that’s not always the case.


If you’re disputing the appraiser’s opinion of value, what can you do about it? If you feel strongly that the appraiser’s opinion is way off from the market, you can find comparable sales that support your claim. You can also hire another appraiser to perform a second appraisal, and then present your appraisal to the lender as part of your dispute. You can also ask the lender if they are willing to have a second appraisal done. Then they can compare the two to determine which appraisal they feel is more supportable.

A couple of months ago, an investor, who I’ve done other appraisal and consultation work for over the years, hired me to appraise a home that they were selling. They had made many improvements to it and it was now under contract. The bank’s appraiser came in lower than the purchase price.

The bank’s appraiser compared the subject, which was a colonial style property, to cape cod style sales that were not the best comparable sales available, at least in my opinion.  There were many comparable colonial style sales that had sold in that neighborhood within the past year, which were very comparable to the subject in terms of condition and other salient features. My client, the seller, felt that the bank appraisal was low. The buyer also felt that way. So, the investor hired me to perform a second appraisal. Their plan was to use my appraisal as part of their value dispute.

I used colonial sales that, in my opinion, were more comparable than the sales used by the bank appraiser. My adjustments were also different. While my opinion of value was higher than the bank appraiser’s opinion, my opinion of value was still less than the purchase price.  It was only about $5,000 more than the bank appraiser’s opinion. In the end, my appraisal didn’t help their case.

Keep in mind that the bank appraiser’s legal duty is to the bank, not the seller or the buyer. The intended user of a bank appraisal is the bank, not the borrower. My legal duty was to my client the investor, not the bank, in this case. But that doesn’t change the market value of the property. Whether the appraisal is completed for the bank or for someone else, the market value is what it is. It doesn’t change because of who the appraisal is being performed for!


When I receive a value dispute from a lender, I always take it seriously. I always look at sales presented to me by the bank, as part of a value dispute, as being potentially comparable sales that I may have missed, that is, until proven otherwise. Appraisers are not perfect. We can certainly miss a good comparable sale or sales. While that is true, we work very hard not to let that happen!

Here’s what normally happens though. Very often, one of the sales provided to me was already used, or at least addressed, in my report. Of course, this is often missed because many readers of appraisals skip reading the report. Their eyes go straight to where the report provides the value, skipping over all the important data and analysis that led to the development of the opinion of value.

The second thing that usually happens is that the additional sales provided to me, while sometimes within the realms of being considered generally comparable, usually adjustment to around what my opinion of value is, thereby supporting my opinion of value.

Here are six questions to ask before accusing the appraiser of being off on their analysis.

1. If you are basing your opinion on specific sales, are those sales more comparable than the ones used in the appraisal in terms of gross living area, lot size, condition and other characteristics?

2. Are you basing your opinion on an accurate gross living area of your home?

3. Are the sales you are providing within the subject neighborhood?

4. Are you basing your analysis on national housing trend data instead of local market conditions?

5. Did the sales you are looking at sell before or after the effective date of the appraisal? They cannot be used if they sold after the effective date of the appraisal.

6. Did the appraiser already use the sale? Please read the report, don’t just look at the sales grid. Often, in my commentary, I will discuss other sales that I didn’t use and why I didn’t use them. The appraiser may have already addressed the sale. You will not know unless you read the entire report.

These questions may help you to determine whether the sales that you would like to present to the appraiser, will really help your case.

As mentioned, there may be times when an appraiser misses a truly good comparable sale. The sale may be better than the sales that were originally used.  What then? I can only speak for myself here. It doesn’t happen often, however, it does happen. In those situations, I have at times revised my opinion of value. In appraising over seven thousand appraisals over the past twenty some years, it has only happened a handful of times.


Does missing a sale mean that the appraiser is an ignoramus? Not at all. Have you ever been sick and gone to a doctor? Perhaps they diagnose you as having a cold. However, when you don’t get better, you go back, and they do more testing only to find that you have strep throat, which they missed at first. Does that mean that the doctor didn’t know what they were doing? Does it mean that they were not trained properly? Of course not!

So, if the appraiser misses a good comparable sale, try not to get mad! Realize that appraisers can make mistakes. The appraisers I know are humble enough to revise their report if something legitimate was missed. The appraiser has to be comfortable with making the change. It’s their opinion and they have to feel that it is well-supported, otherwise no change is likely to happen.  Usually, just one sale is not going to do it. If you’re going to provide new sales for the appraiser to look at, I recommend two or three sales that support your opinion.


A word regarding communication with the appraiser, if there is a value dispute. If the appraiser is working for the bank, then, as I noted earlier, the appraiser’s client and intended user is the bank, not the borrower. So, all communication with the appraiser needs to go through the lender.

If you hired the appraiser directly, then you can enjoy communicating with the appraiser directly because, in this case, you are their client! One thing I enjoy about working directly for homeowners, attorneys and other clients, is that I can visit with them personally about what I did and why I did it! In many cases, it’s so much easier to communicate why I did what I did.

When an appraiser’s opinion of value is less than you anticipated, it can feel like a personal attack on your home. That’s because your home has a great deal of value to you, as it should! That’s part of the pride of homeownership. The last time my wife and I refinanced our home, I also felt like the appraiser’s opinion of the value of our home, was a little low. However, looking over the report, I thought that they did a decent job. I realized that that my feelings were due to my being emotionally attached to my home. The appraiser is a professional disinterested third party.

Most of the time, appraiser’s opinions of value are not a hinderance to the goals of the participants in the loan process. Of course, when there are no issues, none of the parties involved give the appraiser a second thought. Like football kickers, appraisers hard work is often unappreciated. Remember that the appraiser’s goal is different from all other parties. It’s also good to remember that people’s goals and motivations change. Appraiser’s goals don’t.

I hope that you find this information helpful! Thanks so much for reading my article!

I found a great article written by back in 2015, that shared “40 Funny American Football Quotes”. Since we are using a football analogy in this article, I thought it would be fun to share some of these funny quotes. (I assume that these are really quotes) Here are my top 10 favorites from that article. Enjoy!

1. “Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.” – Joe Theismann

2. “I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid” – Terry Bradshaw

3. “I feel like I’m the best, but you’re not going to get me to say that.” – Jerry Rice

4. “If I drop dead tomorrow, at least I’ll know I died in good health.” – Bum Phillips

5. “I’m a light eater. As soon as it’s light, I start to eat” – Art Donovan.

6. “You guys line up alphabetically by height.” – Bill Peterson.

7. “Well, we’ve determined that we can’t win at home and we can’t win on the road. What we need is a neutral site.” – John Mc Kay.

8. “Most of my clichés aren’t original.” – Chuck Knox

9. “I have 2 weapons; my arms, my legs and my brain.” – Michael Vick

10. “We can’t run. We can’t pass. We can’t stop the run. We can’t stop the pass. We can’t kick. Other than that, we’re just not a very good football team right now.” – Bruce Coslet


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If you enjoy listening to podcasts, check my new podcast out. I hope you enjoy it!  You can find my on Apple Podcast, Google Play as well as other feeds. You can also listen right here at Cleveland Appraisal Blog!


Here are some links to other articles and videos I enjoyed recently! I hope you will also…

Appraiser’s Week 2019 in Washington DC! – Voice of Appraisal with Phil Crawford

The Goal Is More Sweet Affordable Rental Housing – Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller

Robots are on the rise, and that’s actually good for Cleveland manufacturing workers – FreshWater Cleveland, Karin Connelly Rice

Oh, Please! Not Another Highest and Best use Question?! – The Appraiser’s Advocate with Tim Andersen

5 Scary Movies That Describe An Appraiser’s Job – Birmingham Appraisal Blog

Newz; Fannie Waivers – No Bifurcates? – Market Cycles – APPRAISAL TODAY

That place where shiplap & murder meet – Sacramento Appraisal Blog

What Will Replace the 1004MC? – George Dell’s Analogue Blog

Should Listing Photos Be Removed After The Sale? – The Appraiser Coach

Time To Take Your Meds Part 2! – Real Value Podcast

Seasonal Changes – October Newsletter – DW Slater Blog


6 thoughts on “When the Appraised Value Doesn’t Meet Your Goal”

  1. Nice job Jamie. I think appraisers are also somewhat like referees in a sense too in that they make calls – and the calls don’t please everyone all the time. Though a ref has very clear black and white rules whereas the housing market and value aren’t so black and white all the time. Thus the appraiser has to navigate through murky waters and support the value he/she says exists. Okay, so it’s not the best analogy, but that’s how my mind works.

    I like the six questions here Jamie.

    1. Thanks Ryan! Great analogy! So true. It is really difficult. Housing markets are tricky. Especially when there are not a lot of comparable sales to look at. We do our best to support our opinions with good that really reflects the market. Sometimes we are the bad guy. It just comes with the nature of what we do. Thanks for your insights my friend!

  2. Albeit potential folklore, you can’t leave out: “What do you think of your teams execution coach? “I’m all for it” – John McCay

    Heard that about a couple of my appraisals regardless of the support.

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