The Appraisal System Blows. Especially Non-Local Appraisers.

I hate the new appraisal system and non-local appraisers. (see video below)

Let me explain. The government came up with a brilliant idea to curb another housing meltdown!

Assuming (you know what they say: It makes an “Ass out of you and Ming”) most lenders and appraisers were fraudulent, they decided to put a
great wall of china in between the lender and appraiser.

So instead of having a “reliable” and experienced local appraiser, they instead farmed out the process (and sometimes to a company they own) to a company that would then find an “independent” appraiser.
1 problem is, the appraiser has no accountability.
Also problem #2 is now another middle man has to make a cut, but the cost to consumer is the same. The result? The cost to the appraiser goes down.

You know you are in trouble in Northern Virginia if your appraiser gets out of the car with a cowboy hat & boots.

So if you (Mr. Appraiser) don’t know the area, what are you going to do? Pick the wrong houses and appraiser more conservatively (they can only get in trouble if they appraise a place too high, so why not just make it come in lower. It also takes more work to come in higher). An appraiser’s job is not to be conservative or aggressive, but to be as correct as possible.

Recently we had a listing where a bank promised that they used local appraisers. The appraiser came from Purceville! Over 50 miles away! The appraisal made comments about Ballston and Rosslyn being where the jobs were. As if Clarendon was 2nd fiddle and not desirable. (If you aren’t from the area, like the appraiser, you wouldn’t know that Clarendon is the most expensive and nicest place in Arlington, see Arlington Rap )

Even before the appraisal system was mixed up, I would always warn my buyers “hey if it comes in higher than what you paid, don’t really celebrate. Sometimes appraisers like to come in higher, just to make you feel good, and oftentimes they aren’t really “real” in my book.” Why would I burst their happy dance?

Because I warn them that the flip side (a low appraisal) is also possible.

Just because an “appraiser” says something has a value of X, that doesn’t mean it is the “true” value. While some might argue there is no “true value” or “it is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it“, I’m referring to the other problems with appraisals.


Appraisers usually include bank sales on the MLS. These are homes that are oftentimes underpriced, they get 7-20 offers and the all cash offer wins. NOT THE HIGHEST OFFER. So a $400,000 bank listing might get bid up to $415,000 with an “all cash” buyer, and 3 other buyers had offers in for $435,000. What is it “worth?” Well the appraiser says $415,000, but the market says $435,000. And this isn’t even going into whether a regular, properly marketed identical listing would sell for $450,000. So what is the “value?” of this $415,000 closed home?

For some people this means NEVER being able to buy a home. They live in areas that are full of investors buying with all cash (like WOodbridge). Those sales then drive down the price of a regular listing but not enough. The appraisal will still be low, and the 3% down FHA buyer doesn’t have the money to make the difference (yes, I got emails on this).

Similar to the above, but the seller has NO interest in trying to get full market price. Actually the banks expects to sell them for 5-15% off market price. The seller just wants a patient buyer, oftentimes an investor. And as I have written in all my other Short Sale posts, these deals will go 3-6 months and oftentimes never pan out. So yes they have to sell for less, to compensate the buyer for the hassle and high chance of never closing. Many buyers will not even look at short sales. So are these good comparable for an appraisal? I think not.


Oh my! Could it be? Could it be possible that homes and condos in Arlington are actually selling for more than the low in June 2009? Yes. In reality they are (this is the first time I have said anything about the market going up), yet the appraiser is more likely to call the market “steady.” All you need is a small 1-3% increase for a $500,000 place to now be selling for $515,000, yet the appraiser won’t adjust for that.

Rarely will an appraiser adjust for low inventory. IE, Ain’t nothing else out there to buy in this price bracket. Good appraisers will see this and understand supply and demand.


So this is what I see happening. When a low appraisal comes in, the buyer oftentimes freaks out. It is the buyer agent’s job to warn them about this (see post above) and then discuss what they want to do. About 1/3rd of the time the buyer will walk (until it happens to the next property!), 1/3rd of the time the seller will just drop their price and the last 1/3rd get new appraisers or work it out.

Put it in the contract (as the lister) that you will only entertain a local appraiser. Maybe give it a 15 mile range. If the lender can’t do this, make the buyer get a new lender and new appraisal if somebody non-local does the appraisal.

Either the buyer or seller can get a new appraisal. Yes, my buyers have hired new reliable and local appraisals. Why? Because the buyers have been to each home in the area for the last 3 months and they know the value. While a bank won’t flat out accept the new appraiser, it can be used to challenge the first appraisal.

While it might be painful, it might be the only way. Especially if you have gone through it a few times, if you start all over, it will likely happen again (unless you are willing to wait 3 months for a short sale to MAYBE close).

Appraisals falling short is occurring in about 50% of transaction.
IT EVEN HAPPENED TO ME! The home I bought did NOT appraise. Yes, I paid well over the “appraisal” price. (yep soon that will be a good post, make sure to subscribe to the blog).

Thanks for hearing me out. Now I can warn my clients with a link to this post instead of giving a limited explanation to the appraisal problem. The goal is not to pressure a buyer to increase their price. I really hope this didn’t come off that way. Instead the goal is to explain the process and for buyers to not ignore their own perceived “value” and ignore their Realtor, when some $20 an hour newbie appraiser from West Virginia says otherwise.

Paul Todd, has a brilliant comment. You are brilliant! Paul says, when the appraiser calls, ask exactly where they are from. If they aren’t local, then refuse access and make the lender pick another appraiser. Wow, great idea.

Written by Frank Borges LL0SA
– Broker Owner and

Map image from Scott
Wall of China photo from jaaron
Cowboy shot by imdan
Freak out by agnes

  • 30
  • January
  • 2010

51 Responses to “The Appraisal System Blows. Especially Non-Local Appraisers.”

  1. Hi Frank, I have had the unhappy experience of a low- non-local appraiser too. I was working with the buyer, and even though I told them the appraisal was not accurate, they still insisted on believing him instead of me. It’s frustrating and serves only to drive or markets down further.

    Which this particular buyer will not appreciate when he goes to sell.

  2. I have heard agents in my office who have ended up with appraisals done by appraisers from out of state…way more than 50 miles away. They know nothing about our local market.

  3. Hi Frank, Early in the year 2009, this was a problem. Fir what ever reason, and I can’t think of a good one, the issue has seemed to take care ofitself. I can’t tell you why but at least the last few months it has not been as much of an issue here.

  4. Since appraisals are only an opinion of value, there will always be differences in opinions. What you can expect from now on, or as long as HVCC is in effect, is a lack of professionalism, or effort. If Appraisers are not able to pay their bills (because the AMC’s are thiefs), they’re not going to do the research or take the steps necessary to complete assignments in a pro. manner.

  5. ROLF! Solutions to low appraisals…Freak Out! Now that cracked me up Frank! Good use of photos! = )

  6. Frank, many of us have written about this travesty going on.

    You can request another one, but IMO the underwriter won’t accept it. I had one happen in Dec. fortunatley my buyers were using a credit union so they held the loan in portfolio.

    Of course Mortgage Brokers don’t have that ability so the deal will die unless the buyer can bring more to closing.

  7. Hi Frank! I think that Solution #1 is a great idea. I have asked buyers and buyers agents to get pre-approved by another lender at times if I am uncomfortable with their current choice but making a specification about the appraiser in the contract is genius!

  8. Frank,

    Most real estate agents don’t try to operate throughout an entire State because it would be out of their area of expertise. Appraisers shouldn’t either.


  9. This is happening in our area and I’m shocked how # 1 & 2 in your article are frequently being used as comps, which will surpress values for quite awhile !

  10. Appraisals these days are worthless in my opinion. Considering the new HUD rule on MIP, buyers are going to continue to be screwed because many appraisers, local and otherwise, improperly appraise a homes value for fear that it will look like they are in cahoots with someone.

    I don’t know about anywhere else, but for the life of me, I don’t understand why an appraiser needs to have a copy of the sales contract (other than to further create bias). By having a copy of the sales contract, the appraiser’s valuation is not only his opinion but the opinion of the buyer and perhaps the forced opinion of the seller. It then becomes anything but an independent appraisal

  11. It is a verry difficult issue that is killing many deals. Two things that I have been able to do is fist refuse to let the first appraiser come ask them to go back to the list. That has worked a couple of times. Second, work with the appraiser, help him do his job by giving him comps and info on the area. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t At ;east when it does I saved a deal.

  12. I believe, with you, that this appraisal system sucks big time, but my only experience with a low appraisal netted my buyer $135K on an ocean front property. The seller had a hard time believing, but my buyer’s lender (seller called him) explained the situation quite clearly. Even if the seller paid for another appraisal, the underwriter would probably not accept it. Case closed and the sale did too for a very happy buyer.

  13. Oh yes this has happened to me, appraisers should be local and know the local market, saving money for the banks and lending institutions are actually costing them. These out of town apprasiers are being challenged by anyone that can do so and often the apprasial has to be done again because of all the mistakes the first time around. UGH!

  14. The out of town appraisers have a workload that doesn’t permit them the time to do an in-depth analysis of value so they either muff the appraisal or- if you are there- they ask you for all the details of the deal so they can just appraise it for what it’s selling at.

  15. I”m sorry but I’m just not buying all of the appraisal bashing that has been going on over the last year. None of my deals were anyway derailed by a low appraisal last year and the appraisers seemed to come from all over. The only issue I’m currently facing is a VA appraisal that had some paint repairs requested and the weather is to cold to be able to complete them. The actual value of the house came in higher than the sales price and the appraiser came from PA. I’ve found all the appraisers easy to reach and to talk to if there are any questions about comps.

    Okay you can shoot the messenger now :-)

  16. Hi Frank,

    I too am frustrated by the current appraisal process. I’ve had a little better luck when the buyers use a local direct lender vs. a national lender. I had a home recently where the appraiser used comps from a neighborhood with completely different and lower demographics (lots of foreclosures and cash sales). This came in low and fortunately the seller accepted this lower value. This did make my buyers question my analysis of the property value and the offer price I suggested. I think they wondered if I was out to make a little more commission. I explained the errors with the appraisal but I’m not sure that they 100% believed me vs the appraiser who was from the Baltimore Metro area (this home I’m speaking of in was in the city of Frederick, MD about 60 miles from this appraiser’s home office). I too have seen these appraisers compare split levels to colonials. That’s like saying apples are oranges. Aaarrgh. Very frustrating indeed. Thanks for the great post and video!


  17. Gerry Dunn says:

    Frank – This is a timely post. Is the current appraisal system flawed? Yes, it is.

    Is the solution restricting offers on a property you have listed to those with local appraisers? NO!

    Although I understand this is a frustrating issue – the solution is not to limit the offers you will consider to those with “local” appraisers. You are doing a disservice to your seller by making your listing less accessible and desirable to potential buyers. Most selling agents will see this as an unreasonable hurdle to satisfy and may advise their buyers to avoid your listing. Is this in the best interest of your client?

    Although I will agree that I feel the new “arms-length” guidelines that require a third party system to select appraisers is flawed, I see it as an over reaction by regulators to try and “solve” loose appraisal selection guidelines during the “go-go” years. Like all reactionary politics – the pendulum always swings beyond reason during crisis. It will take some time for the banks, regulators and the rest of our industry to sort things out and allow overly restrictive guidelines to be eased.

    I think that the issues you are facing with appraisers stem more from BAD APPRAISERS and not the industry as a whole. You have painted all appraisers with a broad brush because of your bad experience. I have had appraisers that were not necessarily local do a fine job in properly researching the market for a subject property and making an appraisal work – even though they were not local. It takes someone with experience – someone willing to work – someone willing to go the extra mile to be a true professional. Assuming ALL appraisers take the easy way out, without regard to locale is making a dangerous generalization. (In my opinion)

    Lets face it. Incompetence in our industry is not limited to the few bad appraisers that make our lives miserable at times. It is complicated by bad agents – brokers and other affiliated professions that we deal with every day to make a transaction work. It makes us that much more appreciative of the “true professionals” that are competent, honest and take pride in what they do.

    I agree with you that we are working in a difficult environment in which regulators are complicating our lives with guidelines that may not make sense. You have to believe that ultimately the pendulum will swing back to the center and things will settle down. Until that time – it is our job – OUR RESPONSIBILITY – to put our emotions aside and work diligently to advise and educate our clients on how to best buy or sell a home in a difficult environment.

    One of the reasons I love keeping up with what you write and what you do is because of your passion for the industry. You are an innovator willing to share what he has learned with others – which is rare in our very competitive business. Normally I agree with what you have to say and appreciate your “outside the box” insight. On this issue – I think you are letting your emotions influence your good judgment.

    Thanks for allowing this forum – I really do appreciate your work!

    Gerry Dunn

  18. Cindy I’d say you’ve been quite lucky. I’m just sorry that more us haven’t shared your same experience.

  19. We are lucky in the metro Detroit area that we are not getting out of area appraisers. Though I do have to say I don’t know how home prices will ever go up because of this process.

  20. I love when the phone rings and the appraiser at the other end is asking me for comps and directions to the property. Are you kidding me? If you aren’t smart enough to use mapquest you aren’t smart enough to look at this property! Nuff said.

  21. I also agree that the non-local appraiser is a detriment to all–whether it is for the buyer, or for a bank in short sale or REO. It is common for these folks to not want to be doing that job anyway (’cause it is out of their way).

  22. Great guidance Frank. It’s important for the consumer to know they have choices to combat the varying levels of competence out there, and rules that virtually change every day. If a low appraisal comes in, it may be able to be challenged, and some banks will even foot the bill for a second appraisal (if you don’t ask, you may not get). How badly does the client want the home will determine how much they’re willing to sacrifice. This is yet another phase we need to pass through to get to a more balanced market.

  23. says:

    Paul Todd,

    You are brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that?

    Paul says, when the appraiser calls, ask exactly where they are from. If they aren’t local, then you refuse access and make the lender pick another appraiser. Wow, great idea. I will update the blog with that idea!

  24. This can be a frustrating experience. I did have a major problem with this last Fall. The appraiser came from Bethesda which even though it’s not that far from Bowie it’s a world away. His value assessment was ridiculous. Luckily, the buyer and seller were able to make it work because the underwriter was not willing to consider anything else we provided to challenge the assessment – including an appraisal that had been done less than 2 months before that valued the house at $45,000 more than the new appraisal. Hopefully, these problems will eventually sort themselves out.

  25. Don’t real estate agents do the same thing. Accept listing in cities they don’t work?

  26. I had an appraiser from….the Eastern Shore! Unreal…

  27. This is really a problem especially here in the Mountains. 1 the appraser if coming from a city does not understand that 95 percent of homes here are on septic systems not sewer so do not deduct. They have no idea how to adjust for a good mountain view , a flat yad, elevation of lake access. It is frustrating

  28. Where is the thumbs up button for your post? The appraisal process has turned into a joke in our business. I’m getting fired up just thinking about it.

  29. Patrick Egger says:

    Hello Frank,

    Read your post and agree with many of the points made, however the problem is more complex than just “non-local” appraisers. There are many issues resulting from the HVCC, especially the use of AMCs, low fees, lack of uniform reporting standards, supplemental guidelines, poor MLS data, etc.

    Most markets are quad-furcated with buyers/sellers/properties falling in one of four categories 1) REOs that need significant work to be occupied, 2) short-sales – under duress, 3) normal transactions and 4) former REOs that have been renovated, are turn-key and in very good condition.

    The definition of market value assumes a balanced market (all properties, buyer/sellers, etc. acting in concert). In a correcting market, we have anything but as lenders liquidate properties, flooding the market with properties that vary widely in condition and are sold “as is”, condition unknown.

    You also have sort sales, owner properties and investor owned/renovated. Depending on the neighborhood, the prices/number of listings, etc. can vary widely and the lack of data in the MLS (as to the condition, motivations, etc. vary as well) impacts what can and should be used as comparables.

    Add to this, supplemental lender requirements (must include listing/pending comps, must use re-sales to support new homes, etc., even when they are not the best indicators or pending prices can’t be verified), and you’ll have a lot of issues to deal with and varying interpretations (appraiser/reviewer/agents) as to what adjustments/comps apply and what the value should be.

    I’m not defending appraisers. As an instructor and reviewer, I’ve seen my share of poorly trained professionals (agents, appraisers, lenders, etc.). I am pointing out that the system is broke as is the line of communication between housing professions.

    While the HVCC brought this more to light, keep in mind that the majority of the provisions of the HVCC have been in place since 1992 with FIRREA regulations). The incorporation of the firewall has always been there, simply never enforced to this degree.

  30. This has happened to me on a couple of deals in the past few months and it is really maddening.

  31. I have been making sure that I’m at the appraisal if I believe that it might be a challenge for any appraiser. I bring comps and make sure that all attributes are noted. I also make sure the appraiser knows that I’m available if needed to help make “his job” easier. I believe these guys want to make the deal work. Sometimes they need a little help

  32. Frank, I wrote about this a couple of months ago. We had a low appraisal and the sellers just accepted it. We just had another one where the appraiser was adjusting 1% a month decline in our neighborhood. He was from across town. Again, the buyers didn’t want to challenge it. I was ready to challenge both. This needs to be repealed. Maybe we can get it repealed after Nov. 2010.

  33. Hi Frank — I lived in NoVa for a good # of years, so I know the area. I should say I’m shocked by this HVCC mess, but I’m not.

  34. Frank, You’re absolutely right that the HVCC has created a decline in appraisal quality due, primarily, to AMC’s (Appraisal Management Companies) controlling the appraisal process. Ironically, the HVCC is a result of collusion between a major lender and an AMC to defraud the public which resulted in a settlement with the New York Attorney General which was adopted marketwide. AMC’s are profit driven which results in skimming out part of the appraisal fee for their profit. The result has numerous negative consequences. The first is higher appraisal costs for the consumer with the Amc’s retaining up to 50% of the fee. To increase profitability, the AMC’s seek appraisers willing to work for the lowest fee possible and as quickly as possible. This is how they market their services to lenders. Unfortunately, poor appraisers who cannot otherwise find work locally will accept these assignments out of their market area. Unfortunately, I find myself a target of your blog as I service 32 counties in Northern Michigan and the Thumb. However, I pride myself on my local market familiarity and the quality of my reports. I also have direct access to all MLS ststems servicing the market areas as well as governmental data bases. I have reviewed appraisals done by “local” appraisers who appeared to have far less local knowledge than I. That said, and while I’m tempted to answer each post to your blog individually, I believe the key weapon a Realtor has against poor appraisals completed by non-local appraisers is the USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) requirement of competency which specifically requires local competency and knowledge. With an appraisal being an opinion of value, as stated, attacking the value is the wrong approach. Rather, analyze the local neighborhood description, defined neighborhood boundaries, and neighborhood values which appear on Page 1 of the URAR. Consistency throughout the report should also be present. If an unfamiliar appraiser defines the market boundaries and then uses comparables from outside that area, there’s a problem. Commentary following the Market Approach should be specific and address the logic and basis of the adjustments. I understand the temptation to to blame the poor appraisals on use of non-local appraisers, but I believe it’s more important to look beyond at the underlying issues. Unfortunately, most locales also have some (hopefully few) poor appraisers so attempting to limit appraisers based upon proximity contractually may only be effective if a local lender were used for financing.

  35. This seems to be a problem across the country and a great disservice to buyers and sellers.

  36. I’ve had almost three deals in the past few months fall apart because of appraisers. I had to contest it and get additional appraisals out. Still didn’t get appraised price to the sales price the buyer and seller agreed on. (What I call market value – Buyer and seller agreeing on a price )NOT FUN!!

  37. Local appraisers will have access to the LOCAL MLS. A lot of local apprasiers in our area are MEMBERS of the RMLS, they can access the property independently, and can use the statistics of home values found in the UP-TO-DATE RMLS!!

  38. This is crazy. I just had two appraisals come through. Fortunately, both were in the black BUT – the one that should have been well under the wire – made it by $500. Another appraisal that I didn’t expect to work and was holding my breath – came through with room to spare. I have NO idea what these appraisers were thinking. Neither made any sense given the current inventory and what has actually sold.

    Many of these people are not local and have no idea what these homes are worth. But the appraisals are in large part useless for determining the value of the home or what a buyer is willing to pay.

    Btw, this is an example of WHY real estate is truly a LOCAL business. There was an blog yesterday trying to justify listing and selling homes all over creation. It just doesn’t work because the nuances of neighborhoods require boots on the ground and familiarity with the area.

  39. Venturion says:

    I here everyone giving 1 or 2 examples of problems with out-of-area appraisers. How about local appraisers? I had one visit in December and another one visit in January. Both were local and their estimates differed by $25K on a $3xxK property. In my opinion, both had serious flaws in their selection of comps.

    My point? Professionalism and standards are a problem for every participant in this industry regardless of (relative) location.

  40. Tchaka Owen says:

    Frank, let’s get something straight….Country Club Hills is the best most expensive and nicest part of Arlington. >:-)

    The very first HVCC appraisal I requested was for a refinance in Arlington Village on a place I expected to be valued around $290-295k. It came back just over $260k. I immediately looked up the appraiser and his firm was located in SW Virginia (makes Purceville look like next door). It is possible that the appraiser lives in Northern Virgina and works for a firm 250 miles away, but not very likely. What was clear is that he didn’t know Arlington at all!

    I like Paul’s advice and would like to add that when I order an appraisal, I put a request in the system that the appraiser be local.

    Touching on Venturion’s comment above, what I also don’t like is that the dispute process for an appraiser is unnecesarily long and as you mention, there’s no accountability. I had an appraisal come in low on an Oakton property and my dispute resolution didn’t get anywhere – even though I pointed out areas of concern in the appraisal. Maybe appraisers don’t realize some of us know how to read them properly.

    I look forward to the demise of HVCC. Thanks for the blog.

  41. […] 2) The Appraisal System Blows. Especially Non-Local Appraisers. – HVCC has been one of my most talked about items over the last 7-8 months. Even in a market that has been having slow appreciation they are still valuing at declining prices. […]

  42. Mark Konar says:

    The only thing AMC are interested in is profit. Please see First Americans webite post for a appraiser ordering position

    This is on the First America’s web site. This tells yet another side of the story. The cheepest appraisers are not the best. But this is what you get with most AMC’s

    Appraisal Coordinator, in Bloomington, MN – First America

    • Fees – Products have a standard flat fee regardless of what state the property is located in on all properties up to 1 million dollar or 1.5 million dollars dependent on business line. For this reason it is important for PAs to attempt to place the order to an appraiser with the lowest fee to maintain our profitability. On orders over 1 million dollars the PA is to obtain 3 fee quotes from 3 different offices before assigning the order. In situations where we must use a one time vendor or fee appraiser the PA will need to check as many options as possible to obtain the lowest fee.

  43. says:

    By the way, the lender was Chevy Chase.

    I think I want to make a list of lenders that do NOT use AMCs (the 3rd party funneling companies) since those appraisers get $100 out of the $425 and tend to be much worse.

    Maybe even put that into the contract. No AMC appraisers.


  44. Frank says:

    I am a Real Estate Appraiser for over 20 years. To say we (Appraisers) are getting screwed is an understatement. Look at what my 20+ years of honesty has gotten me. I dont necessarily agree with the guy crashing his plane into the IRS building but I see his point. Our government has hands in everything. We have lost our freedom in this country. If you dont see it you are blind. Whenever a politician opens his/her mouth it a lie.

  45. Mark says:

    Accomodating the 3% buyers got us into this mess (the problem). Nobody putting 3% down should be buying a property with money that is not priced for risk being taken. Credit, Capacity and full proof of Collateral are the tenants of a worthly banking system and a stable housing market. It is still taking too long for the correction to happen.

    Time will demonstrate for all the impact of the greed and the self-serving corruption I still see in the WashDC Metro RE market. We are finally seeing the REOs and the short sales, but many of the listings are ridden already with abuse and the telling signs of the next wave of fraud (i.e. Professional negotiators, Seller chooses settlement, etc.)

  46. Christina says:

    Well I received a low fha appraisal because the Appraiser had lived in the are over 30 years ago, raised his family and said that side of the street has always been less money those people never took care of their houses, since 1960s! It’s 2010 – the market has changed, investors are moving in, rehabbing properties and the value have increased. Appraiser won’t budge but did admit that maybe he knows too much about the area – so getting a local appraiser is not always a good thing. Also, he compared our property to short sales, foreclosures and properties that had not be touched for over 50 years. These Appraiser are ridiculous and just right down whatever value they think is correct regardless of the most recent comps.

  47. Mark Ziegler says:

    I have to go along with Mr. Glesser above. And I could also personally address each post, but in the interest of time…
    I too cover a considerable territory (18 counties in eastern Wisconsin), so it could be said I’m not necessarily local. However, every time I get called on this, and especially in cases of expert witness testimony, people are shocked that I’ve comp-leted more reports in that area than the “locals”. What it boils down to Jurisdictional Competency and Professionalism, which goes for everyone in this industry. “Realtor” and agent bashing would be easy, which is why I quit doing that 30 years ago. Almost every negative instance described herein reeks of incompetancy, not location. And while no self-respecting appraiser should be asking for your comps, no one says you can’t provide what you use for your CMA’s for consideration. While I don’t agree with most of the HVCC, I’ve been working with some AMC’s for 15 years and have no problem with them at all (BTW, they aren’t bank-owned). And while I’m ripping, on a percentage basis, I’ve done reviews on reports just as bad if not worse than beginner’s from Appraisal Institute members. This mess isn’t going away anytime soon, so I recommend, regardless of distance, get a competent and ethical professional appraiser regardless of where they drive from. And by the way, if they are, they fully understand statistical analysis and the direction of the market, be that up or down. Best Wishes!

  48. […] price them“, you have no idea how many appraisal problems we have. (general blog post on appraisals sucking). And that is a good […]

  49. LisaKinVA says:

    We just had an appraisal done…my best guestimate is that it is at least $50,000 off. We challenged it, the appraiser said that all of the reasons we challenged the appraisal were “marketing” and did nothing to the value of the home.

    Hmmm…hardwood and tile throughout house vs. carpet & vinyl in the comps. New vs. 9yr. old house. The land value appraisal is LOWER than the tax appraisal. Quality points for things like: real light fixtures vs. plastic in the comps… Moen faucets vs. plastic faucets in the comps (other than the 9yo home). Heck, my kitchen is TWICE the size as those in the comps, and I got zero bump for the extra cabinetry, bar sink, 12′ raised bar in granite, 10’x3′ Island (with granite), let alone the hardwood cabinets with dovetail drawers. And this is just the stuff we did you can see with your eyes. Forget the insulation upgrades, the window upgrades, the heat/air system upgrades (did I mention that we can heat/cool our 3,300 sq. ft. house on a full basement for $200 a month?), and the list goes on.

    A house within 5 miles on ours on similar land and new can have a sales-comp price ranging from $455-$525. Ours appraises for $435. My only choice is to fork out another $500 for another appraiser and pray it comes back better. Nice.

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