Why It’s Smart to Be Nice to Appraisers

As I’ve written previously (“Appraisers vs. Realtors vs. Trulia“), Realtors active in an area will often field calls from appraisers trying to establish the value of similar, nearby homes.

Whether the bank they’re working for is considering a new mortgage or refinancing an existing one, the questions the appraisers have will invariably be the same:

“Why did your client’s house sell for so much/little?”

“How updated was it?”

“What was the floor plan like?”

“What was the over all condition?”

None of those things are readily apparent simply reviewing quantitative information about a home in public records, or even reading through the marketing verbiage on MLS (often the housing equivalent of Lake Wobegone, where “all the women are pretty, all the men are handsome, and all the children are above average”).

Cultivating Good Karma

So, why spend scarce time fielding such phone calls?

Aside from professional courtesy, I can think of three reasons:

One.  If the information I provide can facilitate more deals (or refinancings), it’s good for property values in the surrounding neighborhood.

In turn, that’s good for clients of mine who own nearby homes.  

Two. Next time, it might be my client who’s trying to buy a home or refinance, and their appraiser who’s trying to get the scoop on nearby homes from a listing agent.

I can’t expect other agents to be cooperative if I’m not.

Three.  You never know which appraisers you’re going to run into again.

At least in the last few years, I routinely contact the appraiser sent out to evaluate a home that I’m listing.

Besides giving them the access instructions, I ask them how well they know the surrounding area; if they already have good Comp’s (or not); and whether I can share information about recent sales that they might not otherwise have been aware of (besides details about the home, whether a particular deal had an especially motivated party, etc.).

The appraiser is a lot more receptive to that input if you’ve previously been helpful to them (vs. not returned their phone calls).

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply