Today at lunch, I ran into a real estate professional friend of mine, who was discussing how much she cared for her clients, and her job. That got me thinking…do I care?
Well, this may shock you, but the short answer is no. At least not in the way my friend cares about her clients.
Appraiser’s are supposed to be able to provide an estimate of market value which is unbiased, and independent of all pressures and/or outside influence. As an appraiser, if I have any sort of emotional, familial, or other connection to the property, I won’t be able to view the property as objectively as I should. If my best friend is selling his house, naturally, I hope the home to appraises for the contract price. If my dad wants to know what his home is really worth, remaining completely unbiased would be next to impossible. Because it’s natural to care. But that’s exactly what an appraiser can’t do.
So when I come into your home, I want to know what improvements you’ve made since you bought the house in 1998, and yes, it would be helpful to know how much you spent. And when you call me to appraise your home because you want to list it for sale, I want to know why you’re selling. But in the grand scheme of things, I don’t care. I can’t care. I don’t care if you spent $45,000 on that nice inground pool, or that you really need the home to appraise for $200,000 so you can get that lower interest rate. I don’t care that you’re trying to short sale the home (so ‘please appraise it low!’ you say). I care about the market. What are buyers and sellers actively purchasing & selling real estate saying in the local market? I’m objective. Independent. Disinterested. That’s what an appraiser has to be.
So the next time you want an honest, fair, objective market value estimate of your home, as tempting as it may be, don’t call your friend, dad, sister, or neighbor. Call someone who can remain truly unbiased in their estimate of market value, and who does care about accurate results, and professional, high-quality appraisal reports.