9 Things Your Real Estate Appraiser Will Not Tell You!

I've met thousands of homeowners in the more than 4,000 homes I've appraised over the last 15 years. However there are things as an appraiser that I'm not supposed to say because usually my client is the lender and not the homeowner. These comments sound rude and an appraiser wouldn't say these things to anyone, but you can find some insight in hearing what appraisers will not tell you (but would really wish they could). Free advice is usually worth what you paid for it! Hopefully this advice will be worth a lot more. 


1: You probably shouldn't be getting this appraisal.
If you just tried to unsuccessfully sell your home on the market for six months for $230,000 and you need this appraisal to come at $235,000, then you are going to be unhappy with me. The market already said it's not worth that much.
If you are refinancing to drop your rate less than half of a percent, then you aren't saving enough to make it worth it.
If you are getting a reverse mortgage...usually not a good idea.


2: Don't tell me bad things about your home.
I only need to report the things I see, what's available in public records and what you tell me. Once you tell me about things that aren't working, a water leak, or some broken situation, then I most likely need to report it.


3: We aren't actually on the same team.
You are paying for this appraisal, but 95% of the appraisals I do are for the lender. They hired me and they are my client not you, the homeowner. I want to make you happy, but I have to keep my client happy. I must be their eyes and ears when inspecting your house.


4: I really don't want to know what you're going to do someday.
I know you have plans for the house (to-do lists, what Johnny's going to fix this summer, the deck you plan on adding one day), but I'm almost always there to do an as-is appraisal. It's a snapshot in time for the lender. I can tell them about half finished projects that you are working on, or something major that is missing, but that will not help your house value.


5: Please don't follow me around.
It shouldn't make a difference but I can get distracted by a homeowner that's looking over my shoulder, talking to me the entire time, or just hovering. You want me to notice all the little details and give you the most fair value possible for your house, but it could be easy to miss something if I'm talking to you and not paying close attention.


6: Your cosmetic improvements won't help.
When I ask you to tell me the changes and major updates you've made to the house, I'm not wanting to hear about the ceiling fans you've added, the paint in the hallway, the extra curtains you just bought or the new shower head. I want to know about major changes and big ticket features, such as a new roof, furnace, AC, shed, garage or updated kitchen with all new fixtures and finishing's, or renovated bathroom that was gutted.


7: Making me hurry will not help your appraisal.
You have things to do. You must get to the ballgame, or the doctor, or back to work. Just tell me those things on the phone before I arrive so we can plan on them. It will not benefit you to rush me or make me do the inside of the house first so you can lock up and then let me do the outside. I have gotten pretty fast over time and it's usually a 30 minute or so project unless your house is atypical or you like to talk. Pressure to hurry and get finished will not help me do the best job I can.


8: Your addition might have been a waste of money.
Look around your neighborhood. Does everyone have a two car garage? Then adding another $35,000 three car garage in the backyard for your son's go karts was probably a waste of money in regards to raising the value of your home. Your appraisal is not going to be $35,000 higher because of that addition.
Are all the manufactured homes around you basically in the same condition? Then spending $40,000 for a top of the line kitchen, in a manufactured home you paid $80,000 for could be waste of money.
Is it typical for homes to have one shed in your area? Then having 16 sheds around your home is most likely a waste of money.
And yes, those are all real life examples. 


9: This is how much your house is worth.
Most of the time I'm not allowed to discuss value with you, per the request of my client the lender. But it is even more important to understand that your home's value is not based on how much you put into the structure or what you paid for it originally. Insurance value is how much it will cost to replace everything in the event of a disaster, but an as-is appraisal value, on the other hand, is how much the market says this home is worth as compared to other similar sales. So I need to find comparables in the market that are similar to your home and make adjustments for the differences before I can determine the market value.



1 comment

  • Good info. Hope all will read it and do it.

    Dad Harpole

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