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Influencing the Appraiser?

Let’s say you are selling your home, have a binding contract in place and now the buyer’s mortgage lender is sending out an appraiser. Could I, as your real estate agent, speak with the appraiser? Can I have any influence in the process?

And, no, I don’t mean slipping something under the table to ensure that it appraises for the contract price!

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The answer is yes, within established ethical and legal standards. In fact, a good licensed appraiser will welcome the opportunity to meet with me because I have valuable information that helps to put the house in context.

  • First, I can work with my sellers to create a list explaining all the upgrades or replacements made during their tenure (up to 15 years) which helps justify the price. Things like new windows, an additional bedroom or bath, kitchen improvements, landscaping, basement renovations and a new security system are all good examples of property value enhancers. I make sure the appraiser gets this crucial information because not all improvements are readily visible.

  • Second and most importantly, my knowledge of the neighborhood, its homes and the surrounding amenities make me a valuable asset to an appraiser who, having been randomly assigned by a lender, may never have even seen your neighborhood before. While I can’t suggest an appraised amount, I can provide a list of recently-sold,comparable properties to use in his analysis, if he choses. I will also point out the amenities (schools, shopping, recreation) in the area and also identify homes that shouldn’t be used for the assessment. For example, if a similar home down the street recently sold for less but had major radon issues, the appraiser needs to know!

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