It's Okay to Talk to the Appraiser

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage 9025089

"Don't be afraid to give the appraiser information about the house down the street that sold for $10,000 less," advised Gary Bourque, president of Central Mass Appraisals, during a recent continuing education class hosted by the North Central Association of Realtors.  Bourque said there is usually a good reason for the discrepancy, and appraisers need to "bracket" comparables by including homes that have sold both over and under the price of the home they're appraising.

There is a common misconception, according to Bourque, that realtors shouldn't talk to appraisers when they come to inspect a house.  That couldn't be more wrong.  "The more information you can give the appraiser, the better."  For every 100 appraisals Bourque does, only eight of the listing agents give him packages of comps and other relevant data.  "You only have one shot at having the property come in at value," Bourque cautions, citing the restrictions against "coercing" appraisers that were imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act.  "Don't waste it."

What kinds of information can be helpful to an appraiser?  In addition to relevant comparables, Bourque appreciates feature sheets, a copy of the deed, floorplans (though he'll always take exterior measurements, as well), a plot plan, the property's field card, and a copy of the signed purchase and sale agreement.  You can even given an appraiser a copy of the CMA you did when you first listed the property.  Not all appraisers are as welcoming of realtor assistance as Bourque obviously is, but as he says, "It can't hurt to offer."


Posted by

Maureen Harmonay

Specialist in Massachusetts Country Homes,

Antique Homes, and Horse Properties



Comments (27)

Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

I hear that myth that agents can't talk to appraisers...baloney! We certainly can, and I certainly do on every one of my listings. 

Aug 23, 2014 02:53 AM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

Hi Maureen, I understand why the regulations were made but understanding the law is important, thanks for the information.

Aug 23, 2014 03:34 AM
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

I couldn't agree more. I meet the appraisers for my sellers all the time, hand them a packet of comps we used when pricing and negotiating, unique features to the home and improvements to the house. I also point out special features while they are in the house before they go about their busines.  I give them the general floor plan and let them know I'm available if they have questions. Glad you wrote this.

Aug 23, 2014 04:37 AM
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

That would be great if more appraisers were receptive to receiving assistance. Most appraisers should have access to everything you do, if they are a good one anyway. If they aren't the likelihood they will accept help is slim.

Aug 23, 2014 08:29 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

I always go the the appraisals whether I represent the buyer or the seller. Common courtesy more than anything. The market here is up about 10 - 13% so appraisals haven't been an issue.

Aug 23, 2014 11:08 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I find a packet of information is almost always welcome.  The appraiser doesn't have to go all over the place to get information.. eg. deed, property card, tax bill etc.

Aug 23, 2014 12:58 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Maureen, sometimes it works and sometimes, it does not. I remember once I had an appraiser telling me that he knows what he has to do!

Aug 23, 2014 02:24 PM
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

I find most appraisers to be decent individuals who welcome assistance, though not arm twisting. A few individuals in their profession have tarnished them, but that doesn't mean that I need to think of all of them as incompetent idiots who don't want to hear from a realtor.

My suspicions are there are also a few agents who likewise have tarnished my profession, and so, instead I choose to offer any help I can, and hope that together we all get through the appraisal process without too many wounds.

Aug 23, 2014 02:33 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I meet every appraiser and have never had one refuse my packet of information. It is just good business. 

Aug 23, 2014 02:47 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Always be willing to tell the truth when it's the right thing and be willing to put your best business face forward in an honest open and productive way for a win-win on all sides....

Aug 23, 2014 04:13 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the post. I hope all agents will read it. 

Aug 23, 2014 08:05 PM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I have never understand how agents got to the point  of believing it was not okay to meet the appraiser and give info,  I have had more than one be very receptive and truly want to understand the differences in comps.  Great post to help spread the word around.

Aug 23, 2014 08:46 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Unfortunately, I have found that not all appraisers will accept input/comps/etc from agents.   I always bring the information - sometimes it is accepted and sometimes it is not.

Aug 23, 2014 09:33 PM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

Praful and Kat, my experience has often been what you've described: appraisers who resent receiving comparables, and who, I'm sure, discard them without review.  In one case recently, I had a waterfront property under agreement in a town in which there are very few waterfront homes. I gave the appraiser other similar waterfront comps in surrounding towns that had sold within the last six months.  He refused to include any of them, and instead, used older comps of non-waterfront properties!  Predictably, the appraisal came in at less than the agreed-upon sale price, and the deal ultimately fell apart.  I'll bet that most agents have experienced something similar, which is why I appreciated Gary Bourque's perspective so much.  Perhaps not coincidentally, he is also a realtor, so he intimately knows both sides of the fence.

Aug 23, 2014 10:47 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Maureen,

I always provide the appraiser with the floorplan, survey, flier (which will detail out all improvements and particulars on the house) and recent comparable sales. I've fought many an appraisal over the years and it definitely can help your seller! With prices rising in our area earlier in first quarter of 2014 almost every transaction was requiring a visit with the appraiser:).

Aug 23, 2014 11:26 PM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

It's interesting, Dorie, that "almost" every transaction in your area requires a visit with an appraiser.  All of them do in this market.  I've never been successful in fighting an appraisal; would love to know if you were!

Aug 23, 2014 11:34 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

The two big boogie men of the Real State industry once upon a time was the underwriter and the appraiser...

Aug 23, 2014 11:49 PM
Brian Force
Dallas, TX
Work With the Best!

I receive plenty of phone calls from appraisers themselves asking for the comps I used during pricing. If your confident in the sales price then information never hurts!

Aug 24, 2014 04:05 PM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I think that some appraisers are more willing to work with agents than others.  Since I receive advance notice of when the appraiser will be there and who the appraiser is, I make note of who it is.  If it is an appraiser that is out of the area, I will make a point of dropping off my comparables, feature sheets and other information for them to view.  Whether they use it or not, who knows.

Aug 25, 2014 02:42 AM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I always meet appraisers at my listings. I look at it as one of the services I should provide to my sellers.

Aug 26, 2014 02:49 PM