All I Want for Christmas is a Geographically Competent Appraiser!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams, Big Bear Lake, CA

Previously Posted on


This past weekend, I had clients come to see me who wanted to buy a cabin in the Fawnskin area.  For you who are not familiar with the Big Bear Valley, Fawnskin is a quite little community that sits on the north side of the lake.  After listening to what this couple wanted, I knew exactly what to show them.  There were a number of cabins that fit what they were looking for, but there was one in particular that I thought they would especially like.  I was right! As soon as they walked in to this cabin, it was obvious that this was the cabin for them.  After some back and forth with the seller's agent, we put the deal together and we are now in escrow. 

These clients are more than qualified to purchase this cabin.  Their lender has given me an approval letter, they are putting plenty of cash to put down and their FICO scores are through the roof.  Based off of comparable sales in Fawnskin, there should be no problem with the appraisal.  So, why am I so worried about this escrow closing?  The answer is "The Appraisal"

In the 5 + years that I've been selling Real Estate in Big Bear Lake, the loan process was basically the same.  Once the escrow was opened, I would always ask the mortgage broker to use a local appraiser for the appraisal.    The reason for this was quite simple.  The Big Bear Valley is made up of a number of smaller diverse communities.  Because the value of cabins in these smaller communities vary considerably depending on a number of factors, it would be necessary that the appraiser have a good working knowledge of the Big Bear Valley.  In other words, he needed to be Geographically Competent.

 As of May 1, 2009 the way appraisers are selected has changed.  In most cases, the mortgage broker can no longer select the appraiser. They must submit the request for the appraiser to an Appraiser Management Company (AMC) and it is the AMC who assigns the appraiser based off of the Home Valuation Code Of Conduct (HVCC).   The problem that we are seeing in Big Bear is that we are getting appraisers from places like Moreno Valley or Temecula.  Now I'm sure that these people do a great job in their local areas.  But bringing an appraiser to Big Bear who is not Geographically Competent is only going to spell disaster.  Time and time again, we are seeing appraisals come in low.  In each case, there are a number of recent comparable sales to support the sales price, yet the appraisal is low.  How can that be?  Quite simply, these appraisers coming to Big Bear are not Geographically Competent.  They don't know enough about the Big Bear Valley to be able to do their job competently.  The Mortgage broker can ask the AMC to send an Appraiser who is Geographically Competent but there is no guarantee that this is going to happen.

All good things must come to an end and the days of not having to worrying about the appraisal is a thing of the past.  Is it too much to ask for something as simple as an appraiser who is Geographically Competent?


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Tony Card

Your Big Bear REO Specialist
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