Realtor Preparation For Appraiser Appointments
Should you meet the appraiser for the appointment? Should you bring information for the appraiser? This article attempts to address questions that we are frequently asked by Real Estate Agents, and to provide helpful suggestions for interacting with Residential Real Estate Appraisers.
Setting the Appraiser's Inspection Appointment
Hopefully by this point in the process you have already done your research and you are prepared for the appraisal appointment. You may want to review our other posts regarding condition issues, converted living areas, FHA guidelines and comparable sales selection for a refresher on being prepared for your specific situation.
If it is possible, we recommend that you email the appraiser any readily available information or documents as soon as possible after your initial contact. Providing information in advance can help the appraiser prepare for the assignment. You can also print the info and leave it at the home, or bring it with you for the appointment if that is more convenient.
At the time of initial contact tell the appraiser about any major issues that are going to be obvious during the appraiser's inspection (for example a missing kitchen). This way they can research relevant comps in advance of their visit. For a deeper dive on potential condition issues you may want to see our posts on the Top 5 Condition Issues we see in the field.
Should I Go To The Appraiser Appointment?
It is always more convenient for the appraiser to have an open schedule for access. If the home is vacant and it is in good condition with no special circumstances for access, then why force the appraiser to commit to a specific time? If the appraiser is looking at multiple homes that day, being able to modify their schedule on the fly can greatly improve their efficiency. As long as you email any pertinent information in advance, there is really nothing you are accomplishing by being at the appointment.
If you do make an appointment, make every effort to be on time. It is very frustrating to wait at an empty house for an agent that is late while you stare at a lock box hanging on the front door!
If the home is not in good condition, it is preferable to meet the appraiser at the home. This way you can make sure that you understand any condition items which might be flagged & start planning for repairs right away. I've seen appraisers flag a toilet for being non functional, when in reality the water line was turned off at the wall.
Whether you will be at the appointment or not, the appraiser will usually need all utilities to be turned on and will need access to areas such as the attic or foundation crawl space. If any of these items could be an issue, you should be at the appointment to assist or explain.
General Appraiser Interaction During Appointments
We suggest that you try to keep unnecessary communication to a minimum. Obviously you want to be nice and polite, but discussions about non-relevant subjects like politics are not recommended. If the appraiser disagrees with your viewpoint about something that is not relevant to the appraisal, it can create a negative reaction where none is necessary.
What Information Should I Provide to the Appraiser?
Preparing a list of specific home attributes can be a good idea, especially any items that are not obvious like refrigerated kitchen cabinet drawers, location of hidden spaces/rooms, and the replacement date of major components.
Obviously you should try to bring any information about recent sales that support your sale price. The best information I ever received from a Realtor was in the form an email sent just after setting the appointment. They listed the good and bad comps in the area, with a brief description of the issues or attributes of each home. They also provided phone numbers for FSBO sales and relevant details about the transactions that were not available through the local MLS.
If there are negative comps that are obviously going to be considered by the appraiser, print the MLS or public record out and list the issues. As a Realtor, when I see that a comparable sale is low, I will try to find out why it sold low and document the reasons. Sending an email to the listing agent or buyer agent asking to confirm the sale can be very effective. Ask if there were any unusual circumstances other than what can be seen in MLS. In my experience the agent will usually reply with details about any negative conditions since the home has already sold. Printing that email and providing it to the appraiser is 10x more reliable than simply telling them what you think the negatives are. If you can't get an email, call them and make notes on the MLS sheet you have printed for the appraiser.
If you have a unique home attribute like a golf course view, you will want to try to find the most relevant comparable sales that have the same attribute which also support your opinion that the market recognizes a certain value for that feature. Simply stating that your home is on the golf course and the homes that are not on the golf course sell for less is not really helpful. If you can provide statistical data in support of your opinion, the appraiser will be more likely to consider your viewpoint when writing the file.
Other Information That is Helpful, But Not Necessary
A survey is always appreciated
If the community is a Planned Unit Development with a Home Owners Association provide details of contact information, special rules, fees, and amenities.
For condominiums appraisers typically need to report the # of units in your building, # of elevators, COA or Property Management Agent (name and contact info), total # of units, # of phases, # of units in the subject's phase, # of units currently rented, and any special assessment detail.
Details for mandatory membership requirements in Country Club communities.
Age of any renovations, especially in the kitchen and/or baths (including the specific year of remodel if known).
For water front properties with boating access, any fixed bridge height information or other market driver specifics related to navigation.
Receipts or a spreadsheet of costs for major repairs, remodeling and/or renovations.
List of upgrades and renovations including costs if known.
Any documentation related to roof replacements or recent inspections.
We hope you have found this information to be useful. Please check out our other blog posts which cover a wide range of subjects for consumers and Realtors about the appraisal process. Our network covers the entire State of Florida and can provide appraisal services for ANY type of property at ANY location within the State.