Can you talk to an appraiser?

Appraisers are to remain neutral, so beyond providing information or answering any questions they might have about the property, neither parties involved in the transaction, the buyer, the seller nor the lender cannot influence them in any way.

No one, not even a agent can ask them what they plan to bring the value in at ahead of time. As a matter of practicality, some appraisers might give agents a heads-up that they are having difficulty bringing the value in at the contract sales price and ask for assistance with comparables.

This is often indicative of the reality to come. A seller lurking around the house while the appraiser is doing the appraisal is not helpful and may only exacerbate the situation. Appraisers can be finicky, and understandably so.

Pointing out the obvious or how much money was spent doing x, y or z is NOT productive. This is why providing details of upgrades and what has been done to the home in advance of the appraiser’s visit is strongly recommended.

A seller can have this information for reference in the home, but there is no need to go into a dissertation of each item and the history of what was done and why.

If there is an extenuating set of circumstances that need explanation, then it might be helpful to have the your listing agent convey all of that information to the appraiser at the time of their visit.

What keeps appraisers accountable?

Just like real estate agents, an appraiser’s license is on the line with their work, each and every time. Appraisers have been under scrutiny like never before, especially in the post-real estate market crash era.

They cannot pull numbers out of thin air, and everything they put on an appraisal report must be verifiable, justifiable and have an explanation.

Underwriters review appraisal reports when they are completed for accuracy and might scrutinize what was done on the report and ask the appraiser for more information.

In short, understanding what the appraisal process entails will help to manage expectations from beginning to end. Sellers with a realistic outlook of the process and an understanding of what is and what is not within their control, as well as their listing agent’s control, have the best chance of navigating through this milestone successfully, no matter the outcome.