According to Bob Bruss' article "How to get the best appraisal for your house or condo" Here’s a summary of what Mr. Bruss thinks will make sure that you get an accurate appraisal of a residential property.
- Put the home in model home condition before the appraiser arrives.
- Hand the appraiser a list of the home’s special features, especially those that add market value. Also, provide the appraiser with suitable comparable properties.
- Always accompany the appraiser to facilitate the inspection and answer the appraiser’s questions. Don’t hesitate to point out special features.
- Insist that the lender provide the borrower with an appraisal copy, although technically the appraisal belongs to the mortgage lender who hired the appraiser.
- If the appraisal comes in low, promptly request a review appraisal by another appraiser (to be paid for by the lender).
On the face of things, his suggestions might seem to make sense? AND, in fact I can actually agree with most of what he said above (topic headers). My issues are with his "explanations" of why those are important. As a form of rebuttal, I'd like to address some "quotes" from his article.
READ ON . . .
Mr. Bruss starts off his article with an explanation of "What Is An Appraisal"? His brief explanation of a "market value" appraisal left me more confused than enlighted. A more complete (and accurate) description of what a market value appraisal is can be found in the Wikipedia section: Market Value definitions in the US.
"Although computers have changed real estate appraisals, there is no substitute for the experience of a realty appraiser to interpret the recent sales prices of comparable nearby houses and condos, which determine the market value of a specific home."
But having said that, Mr. Bruss goes on to imply that AVMs are the "scientific" way of valuing homes and that appraisers are necessary to "verify facts". Apparently he hasn't read the recent study by MSNBC that said: " . . . even the BEST of the online AVMs only had a 50% chance of being within 5% of the likely sales price. So traditional appraisals may not meet Mr. Bruss' definition of "scientific", but isn't "accurate" more important?
I agree with Bob when he suggests that homeowners get their property in good shape prior to the arrival of the appraiser. "Clean Sells!" But getting the property into "Open House" condition is not mission critical to obtaining an accurate valuation.
Real estate appraisers see hundreds of homes each year and are experienced at looking at the "real estate" that is their job to appraise. Still, poor housekeeping can be an indication of sloppy maintenance and puts the appraiser on the alert.
Mr. Bruss suggests that appraisers "can't possibly remember each home's special features" if they see 2 or 3 properties a day!
He thinks we'll do a better job if we have a sales agent or the homeowner yakking our ears off while we're WORKING!!
Doesn't everyone work better that way?
Hey Bob! Watch an appraiser while they're at work sometime!
Armed with laser measuring devices, digital camera, PDAs and UMPCs, and wireless Internet connections, appraisers have a wide variety of tools in the field to take notes and "memory jog" photos.
Many technologically advanced appraisers are capable of entering the property data and detailed sketches directly into their appraisal software while at the property.
Several quotes in his article were from " . . . A Realtor friend of mine . .". Wouldn't you think when an article is about getting the "best" (or most accurate) appraisal, that he'd talk to an appraiser!?