Preparing for an Appraisal

I almost always am successful in getting a packet of information into the hands of the appraiser on all my listings.  This practice began about 3 years ago after an extremely ugly appraisal on a listing.  In that case, the house was new-construction in-fill, a house built in 2002 on the only vacant lot in a mid-1970s neighborhood.  The house was in lovely condition.  Roof, fence, HVAC, hot water heater, granite counters, wood floors all installed in the year before the property went on the market.  We went on the market at $139,900.  It went under contract for $132,00 to the 2nd buyer who came to look.  And, it appraised for $114,000.  As I said…ugly.

casting a net

Since then, my listings are set up so that the appraiser can’t get inside the listing until they have talked with me. Then I make sure that is a packet waiting for them. When I first started doing this, I removed the keybox from the house.  Sometimes that still makes some sense.  However, usually it just creates more problems than it solves.  Now all I do is instruct the showing service to refer the appraisers to me to schedule their appointments.

That packet contains print-outs of the comps I used to arrive at the list price. And, if there is a reason to ignore something that appears to be a comp but really isn’t, I share that information with the appraiser.  For example, I just closed on the sale of a townhouse floorplan condo in a complex where the only other sales in the last 12 months have been Flats.  I directed the appraiser’s attention to the other complexes in the area where townhouse floorplans are located.  We “made value” on that appraisal, which believe you me was a real miracle.  We closed at $95,000 in a non-conforming condo complex where the next-highest sale had been $82,000.  I had my fingers and my toes crossed on that one.

If it is going to help impress the appraiser, I also include a print out of a summary of showings in the packet.  In the current market, anywhere in the 12 county region that makes up the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex, if a property is in good condition, at the right price, it will sell immediately.  Appraisers have no way to quantitatively measure Market Demand.  My providing them with that information contributes to the information they need to appraise the property.  For example, I had a listing in a prime suburban neighborhood that was shown 92 times in 3 weeks.  Talk about a feeding frenzy! 92 times!

Then I prepare a cover letter.  In that letter, I address 3 issues.  I tell the appraiser that I am sharing my thought process that led up to the establishment of the list price.  Then I summarize the upgrades and updates to be found in this property.  The last element is market demand, the number of showings and offers received.  If I have gotten multiple offers, I tell the appraiser that.  If we have a backup, the appraiser needs to know that.  How are they to know if that information isn’t supplied by the listing agent?

I begin accumulating the Appraiser Packet when the property goes under contract.  It takes time and thought to pull that information together and figuring out how to write that cover letter can really take time.  What you don’t want to have happen is to get the phone call from the Appraiser and there is no time left in your schedule to get that packet set up, printed out and delivered.

Does my approach work?  I think it does.  Since I began doing the packets, I have not had one bad appraisal.

About the Author

Judith AbbottWhen you hire Judith to represent you in a real estate deal, you are getting the benefit of a lifetime of real estate experience. Raised in a real estate family, she did her first real estate transaction in 1976. She has done real estate investment and management. She has worked for a lender as well as a title company. She moved to Dallas in 1998 and has been doing single family residential sales ever since. Judith was a member of the 2002 class of the MetroTex Leadership Academy (the Dallas Board of Realtors). She has served on the Texas Association of Realtors Committee for Professional Standards since 2001. She serves on the local board’s Committee on Forms and Contracts. Judith served for 8 years on the City of Denton’s Landmark Commission, ending as Chair. She is a member of the parish of St Matthews Episcopal Cathedral. The mother of 4, grandmother of 9, she enjoys camping, star gazing, and contra dancing. She is always ready for a culinary adventure.View all posts by Judith Abbott →

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