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  • Writer's pictureKrystal Schware, PA CREA

Shooting The Real Estate Messenger


In today's real estate world, it has become commonplace to blame the appraiser for being the problem any time market value is below a contract price or lower than an anticipated value. Rather than realizing that a trained professional is typically one to trust in any situation, most parties in this case blame the messenger. Why is it assumed that the professional valuation specialist is the one who is incorrect? Let's illustrate how and why this is absurd.


Let's say you have a foot issue. To get you started, you go to a shoe store that you know sells only orthopedic shoes. They know special shoes and are experts at selling shoes. They aren't a foot specialist but they know shoes and they see a lot of feet along the way. Based on a cursory view of your feet, they find you some suitable shoes that you like and tell you what they think the issue is.


The next day, you go to the foot specialist; the podiatrist. The podiatrist does a full evaluation of your foot. Based on that evaluation they order and run the proper tests. Blood work, X-rays, perhaps an MRI, etc, etc. Your specialist reviews all of the tests and that, combined with their evaluation, they deduce your issue and give you your results. But their diagnosis is different than the person who sells shoes.


Who would you trust for your diagnosis/opinion of your issue? The shoe salesman or your specialist?


Like the podiatrist in this scenario, an appraiser has gone through a long and rigorous training and education process to become a state-certified (or licensed) specialist in valuation. We deep dive into the real estate that we are appraising and the immediate market area, then provide what is typically 30+/- pages of an appraisal that gives a summary of all the data, analysis, research, photos, and methodologies that give our opinion of value backing and fact as to how and why our value is what it is. But appraisers are assumed to be the one who is incorrect? It is not uncommon in today's real estate world for appraisers to be verbally abused and disrespected in multiple formats multiple times for each occurrence where our data-backed market value falls short of others' expectations.


And this is the life of an appraiser today. Appraisers are the only non-biased party that is providing the opinion of value and analysis from an unbiased position. Appraisers gain nothing by 'appraising low' as many call it today. The appraiser is the only person in the process that has no skin in the game. Perhaps the list or sales price was too high above market value? Perhaps that $20,000 in seller assistance pushed the envelope? Perhaps the CMA was completed with the highest sales and not the best or most similar? There are many factors for consideration. It does not mean the appraisal is not accurate.


If you need to know, trust the pro. Ask the appraiser.


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