The Realtor’s Guide to Appraisals Part 2: Why You Need An Appraiser On Your Team

When was the last time you heard of anyone starting a new career or business, and achieving massive success all on their own?  Without the help of anyone.  Not a team, not even an assistant.  Can you think of anyone who has done it all on their own?  I sure can’t.

 

We were not created to go through life alone.  We need each other.  We need people in our life to encourage us, challenge us, and who will let us help them as well!  Why would it be any different in business?  Even the Bible speaks to this.  In Ecclesiastes, we read “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

 

Having an appraiser on your team can not only help you if you have a problem, but it can also help you grow in all aspects of life and business.  When you learn from someone who is in a different area of real estate, you’re challenged to grow, you can learn new concepts and ways of helping your buyers/sellers, and you can also learn from someone else’s mistakes!  How great does that sound? 

Think about risk for a second.  Are you a risk taker?  If you’re going about your business all alone and you’re not comfortable taking that big listing, you may end up losing out.  But when you have the support of a team, you have something you didn’t have before:  security.  And that security is sometimes exactly what you need to take big risks in life and in business.  If you have a team of trusted advisors, you can call on them for help.  Maybe it’s an experienced broker who can help you navigate the intricacies of working with a million-dollar listing.  And of course, you can call an appraiser who can help you with a detailed floorplan, square footage estimate, and even a pre-listing appraisal to really wow your seller client.

 

Still on the fence?  Not sure aligning with an appraiser in your area is a good idea?  Let me give you four reasons that may help you.

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Four Ways You Can Benefit By Having an Appraiser on Your Team:

 

  •  Pre-Listing Appraisals

 

Of all the listing appointments you’ve been on, how many have gone like this:  

 

Realtor:  “Mr Seller, based on my CMA, I think we can sell your home for $265,000.  

Seller:  “Sounds good!  Where do I sign?”

 

Hopefully you have plenty of appointments that end up like that!  But what about these…

 

Realtor:  “Mrs. Seller, I’ve done my research, and I’m confident we can get $390,000 for your home.”

Seller:  “Are you kidding me?  I think my home is worth $450,000 at least!  And Zillow says it’s worth $470,000!”

 

What do you do?  Give in and just list it and let the market decide who’s correct?  That’s not exactly the method I’d recommend.  Instead, get an appraisal.  Often, Realtors need someone who is independent and unbiased to speak into the situation.  Maybe it’s a pricing issue like the above example, or maybe you have a super-unique home.  Like a one-bedroom Log Cabin on 40 acres.  Contact an appraiser, who is completely unbiased and will be able to provide a neutral, third-party opinion of value.

 

  •  Home Measurements

 

Are you basing your list price on square footage?  I’m going to assume the answer is at least in part – ‘yes’.  If so, where’s that number coming from?  Are you measuring the house yourself, or are you relying on tax records?  If it’s the former, are you familiar with ANSI guidelines for measuring a house?  As of April, 2022, Fannie Mae will require their homes to be measured using ANSI standards.  If you’re not aware how this may affect square footage, it’s best to talk with an appraiser.  If you’re just taking what the tax records show, then how reliable are those records?  In our area, and most areas I hear & read about, the records aren’t all that reliable.  Even though you may say ‘buyer needs to verify square footage’ or other language like that, if you’re basing your list price on square footage which is either too high or too low, then you could be surprised when the appraisal comes back.  

 

All that to say, an appraiser can go out and measure your new listing for you.  When you have an appraiser handle this, you get a great return on your money.  Usually, appraisers don’t charge an arm and a leg to measure a home, but what you get in return is enormously valuable.  You’ll get peace of mind that you’re advertising correct square footage, and there won’t be any surprises when the home gets appraised for the purchase.  And, your seller will appreciate your attention to detail, and your willingness to make sure you get the most accurate information available regarding their home.

 

  •  Someone to Bounce Ideas Off Of

 

“How much does a basement add, on average?”  “What does FHA say about condition of the property?”  “What about windows?  If they’re old windows, will that pass FHA?”  “How much value does a septic tank add to a vacant lot?”  “If water is turned off, does it require a reinspection once it’s turned back on?”  These are just a few of the questions I’ve been asked in the last month or so by various people.  I have to say, I love getting these questions.  Why?  Because it gives me an opportunity to talk positively about appraisals, and I get to help those in our real estate community.  That’s always a good thing.  Over the many years I’ve been in business, I’ve had countless Realtors reach out at various times with questions on pricing, general appraisal practice, FHA guidelines…you name it.  And why wouldn’t they?  If you’re a Realtor, do you keep up with appraisal guidelines?  Do you read through the Fannie Mae selling guide or the HUD 4000.1 Handbook when you can’t sleep?  I didn’t think so.  Nor should you!  Find an appraiser who will treat you like a colleague, and answer your questions – no matter how silly you think they might be.  Find an appraiser who is knowledgeable and experienced and who is willing to help.  If you can find someone like that, don’t let them go!  Call them often.  And, be grateful for the appraiser’s time and expertise.  I guarantee it you will be a better Realtor for it!

 

 

  •  Cash Buyer Appraisals

 

One of my favorite phone calls goes like this:  “Hey Ryan, this is Tim with Re/Max and I have a cash buyer who wants to have the home he’s buying  appraised.  Can you help?”  So when a buyer pays cash for a home, they don’t need to have an appraisal.  There’s no financing, no bank, noone requiring the home to be appraised.  I love this call because first, the buyer realizes the importance of getting their home appraised.  Even though it’s not a requirement, and clearly they have a large chunk of change lying around, they know that it’s still a large investment and they want to make sure they’re not overpaying.  I also love this call because several Realtors know they can trust me to provide an honest, independent and unbiased appraisal of their buyer’s future home.  If you don’t have an appraiser or two who you can call for these types of appraisals, you definitely need one!  Not so you can call the appraiser “who always gets the job done – hint hint”, but so you can provide your buyers with a reputable reference.

 

I’ve written a lot about teams in this post.  So I’ll ask one more time.  Are you trying to make it big all alone, or are you part of a team?  Do you have an appraiser you trust, on your team?  What’s better than having one appraiser on your team?  How about multiple appraisers?  How about a team of ten individuals who are committed to your success?  At Riverfront Appraisals, we have a staff of multiple appraisers and team members who are ready to help you take your business to the next level.  So if you’re in the Western Kentucky or Southwestern Indiana areas, look us up at riverfrontappraisals.com.  And if you’re somewhere else in the country and don’t know anyone local, still look us up!  We get emails and phone calls all the time from folks just like you, all across the country.  We LOVE what we do, but most importantly, we love helping people.  We love seeing others succeed.

 

Committed to helping you understand your home’s market value,

Ryan Bays, SRA, AI-RRS