As Realtors ® most of you have had the experience of calls, emails and even text messages from appraisers who are trying to verify information in a sale that you participated in. As annoying as this can be, it is important, in particular if there are any unusual circumstances to the sale.
Although most MLS now allow for multiple photos within the MLS, photos are generally presented in such a manner as to sell the property, not directly for the appraisers benefit. How often have you looked at photos in a listing ticket and thought the house was perfect for a buyer, only to find when you get there, that the condition was nothing like what was represented in the listing? This happens quite often, and it does by the virtue of the listing being a tool to help you sell the property. If the house doesn’t appear attractive, the likelihood is that many potential buyers won’t want to see it.
This comes back to the calls from the appraiser. Most appraisers want to get a real understanding of the condition, updates and upgrades, and significant remodeling of that property. While the listing ticket may explain these features, often times it overlooks issues that are important. As an appraiser, I actually prefer to communicate with the selling agent more often than the listing agent in order to gain a real understanding on the house that I am potentially using as a sale.
Why? The main reason is that the agent will have shown that buyer other houses that were competitive, and will have a clear understanding why their buyer opted for this property over the others. Think of how powerful that information is to provide to an appraiser using the sale as a comparable! Your buyer saw ten houses, and of the ten houses, they chose this particular one because it had XYZ features that were important. Feel free to share this information with appraisers who take the time to contact you.
Why your buyer actually chose a house is relevant. Sometimes a buyer chooses a house because it is next door to their best friend, and they are willing to pay more for it than everything else. Wouldn’t that be relevant to the appraiser using it as a comparable sale? How about the house that sold to a relative with a different last name and sold at a discount; that information would be equally relevant.
As an appraiser, I spend a lot of time and energy helping agents who contact me with questions on how to handle valuation questions. I also find that most agents I talk with are extremely helpful, but occasionally I run into one who will not answer questions, or answer them in ways that are not helpful. Contrary to popular belief, agents and appraisers can talk and garner information from each other. Just like you as an agent, have a fiduciary relationship to your client; I as an appraiser have an obligation to confidentiality, and cannot share certain information such as confidential client information and most importantly, assignment results. This is similar to your fiduciary duties to your client and we both take these duties seriously. It does not stop us from communicating and learning from each other.
Feel free to call me or email/text me for advice, and at the same time, please do take the time to respond to questions that I will have from you regarding a specific property or two.
Thank you for your time.
Rachel Massey, SRA www.annarborappraisal.com