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Entry 2303.3 - When Can I Talk To An Appraiser?

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

When Can I Talk To An Appraiser? (WHEN Is More Critical Than WHAT...Can I Talk About)

Contrary to the perpetuated myth, there is NO prohibition against real estate brokers contacting and “talking” to the appraiser. However, there are clearly topics and facts that the appraiser CANNOT discuss or share with anyone other than the appraiser’s client (typically, the LENDER).

“Appraiser Independence” is the Law under Dodd-Frank, and appraisers are highly regulated both on the state and federal levels, including compliance with national USPAP Standards. These regulations require appraisers to perform the Valuation Service competently and in a manner that is independent, impartial, and objective. Appraisers cannot advocate the cause or interest of any party or issue (unlike brokers who are agents for their client and must provide a full set of Fiduciary Duties, including advocacy for their client’s best interest).

The price of a property is a FACT, based on the contractual agreement between a ready, willing, and able buyer and seller. The appraisal is a Developed OPINION of value, based on credible assignment results. Appraisers observe the property, analyze the data, and report their credible results to their client (the Lender) who is seeking to assure the property has enough value (worth), sufficient to warrant a loan (collateral value) to base the lenders financial lending decision on the property being appraised.

Therefore, brokers must recognize that appraisers are not mind-readers, and if a broker has factual information germane to the valuation of the property, the appraiser needs to know it. The most favorable “window of opportunity” to talk to an appraiser is as soon as the appraisal inspection is scheduled.

There are many things that brokers and sellers can do to put the property in the best position possible for the most favorable appraisal outcome. The most important thing is providing as much accurate, current, and detailed information on the subject property as possible. Most of that information can easily be provided through the local MLS (including as many photos as the MLS will allow), which is not only beneficial to the appraiser of the subject property but equally beneficial when other appraisers use that same information as a future comparable and especially to brokers who routinely assist their clients with CMA’s. This important information is the first opportunity for the listing broker to provide factual insight into the subject property and also disseminates the broker’s unique knowledge of the properties characteristics and local real estate market data through supporting information and documentation.

Therefore, the “New-Normal” for brokers to be in the best position to advocate for the property being appraised is by developing an “Appraisal Package” on every property which would be subject to an appraisal and make it available at the property no later than at the time of the appraisal inspection.

Can I talk to an Appraiser? – YES, …… but WHEN is more critical than WHAT ….. can I talk about.

The above does not constitute Legal Advice. Therefore, find a competent attorney for legal advice.


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