4 REALTOR® Tips To Help Your Deals Appraise Closer To Sales Price

Real Estate Appraiser with Accurate Valuations Group, LLC LA St Certified 851

As a Baton Rouge Home Appraiser for over 20 years, visual online marketer and helping a local Broker market their properties online in Summer of 2011, I know it's not easy to finally get a deal under contract and then closing. Trying to keep up with 68 listings that Summer taught me a whole new respect for role and tasks of a REALTOR®.

And.....then there's NAR's own Videos about how Accuracy Matters, which also implies REALTORS® have an obligation to get it right...as in "Living Area Size".  The entire NAR REALTOR® video series talks about ethics and service via their video: Realtor.com Ad "Accuracy Matters" - Mom

There's been HVCC, now Dodd-Frank, now TRID and Third Party this and Third Party that - AMCs (Appraisal Management Companies) to help create buffers in business between REALTORS® so those that service deals don't become too cozy. My interpretation of Dodd-Frank law was that it was meant to right the wrongs of HVCC - to bring about more communication between REALTORS® and Appraisers...without us becoming too cozy in influencing eachs professional task. However, dealing with third party AMCs can sometimes make for a lack of follow through and loss of communication.

Top Takeaways From Baton Rouge Appraiser REALTOR Can We Talk Gathering 2014

Can Appraisers and Agents Talk about a sales transaction that Agent has under contract? 

Answer: Absolutely. 

How much can Appraiser and Agents talk about this transaction?  

What can an Agent offer to an Appraiser about this transaction? 

When can an Agent offer to an Appraiser about this transaction? 


In October 2015, these were problems I noted with purchase appraisals.


Making sure Home Appraisers have ALL counters to purchase agreements, fully executed with all signatures and dates. Don’t assume AMCs have actually delivered Appraisers all addendums. But, how do REALTORS® talk to Appraisers you ask? Read #2 dealing with CSS.


This is the very reason REALTORS® SHOULD NOT just tell Appraisers when they call to call CSS to schedule appraisal visit showings without actually talking to the Appraisers.

Another reason NOT to just tell Appraisers call CSS and not actually speak with them when they call to schedule appraisal visit...to make sure Appraisers have ALL purchase agreement addendums

TIP: Talk to Appraisers when they call. Ask the Appraiser if they have all addendums to PA and Counter Offers, verify sales price and concessions, and if they don't, offer to email it to them.

Twice this month now on purchase appraisals, I was sent PA (purchase agreement) by AMC and then days or 1 week after appraisal was completed and submitted, received addendums to PA for $5,000 and $7,900 more than I was initially made aware. Addendums were signed on same day as initial PA, but NOT SENT to the Appraiser.

After the Appraiser has spent hours on a report and understood the market to have reacted to a particular sales price, it's not easy to go back into a report and "find" $7,900 in more value. Plus, it adds more work to appraisals, perhaps adding more comps and may mean Appraiser has to drive another trip out to that market to take additional comp photos (because Lenders want comp pics taken by Appraiser and using MLS pics not an option).

From my 2013 post on this topic:
Centralized Showing Thwarting Communication Between Agents Appraisers?


Three (3) purchase deals this month DID NOT appraise because Agents copied previous MLS listings in MLS history and failed to actually measure the home they were professionally representing for a large commission. And/or the REALTOR® didn’t understand the basics of A.N.S.I. on how to measure a home.

In Baton Rouge, the average home sells for $210,000 +/- and if the local commission base is 6%, sellers are paying approximately $12,600 for professional REALTOR® representation no matter how that commission is split.  For $12,600, sellers deserve to have their homes professionally measured!  I mean, can you imagine going to a CPA and having them just guess at your income?   Would that be a professional service?   It's not OK to simply guess at living area size when a seller is paying $12,600 for a professioanl service.  

Errors in Listed Living Area sizes were 211sf, 98sf and 68sf, listed at $136/sf, $120/sf and $112/sf.

145sf MORE Living Area. And, 1 listing in Denham Springs for 1725sf, where Listing Agent copied old MLS listings, was 1871sf, 146 sq. ft. MORE living area than professionally represented. Listed at $100/sf. How do you think this seller would feel if they actually knew this happened?

Attached Storage Areas without direct access from interior, not matching in quality of construction and without equal heating and cooling are not "Living Area". 

TIP: Accurate Living Area sizes in your listings will at least provide a better chance of your deals closing closer to contract price than not.

TIME OUT HERE: Please understand that I'm writing this from Baton Rouge Louisiana and thankfully, the Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS® does require Agent Indoctrination plus 4 hours of "How To Measure A Home Per ANSI Standards" before our Agents can gain access to GBRMLS. My MLS Board understands why getting living area correct up front is so crucial to deals. And, in 2015, the 4 hour mandatory LREC CE topic was "How To Measure A Home", mandatory for Agents and Brokers.

Photo source above is Louisiana Chapter of Appraisal Institute.

Photo source above is Louisiana Chapter of Appraisal Institute.


Sunrooms are not generally "Living Area" and you shouldn't add them to Living Area in your MLS Listings unless you're 100% certain.

It's very rare a sunroom matches the quality of the original home and it's a huge mistake to call what is not living area, "Living Area".

See this photo where in this sunroom, walls and ceiling are white vinyl siding. Is it common to have vinyl siding walls and ceiling in a Living Room, Kitchen, or Bedroom in a home? Absolutely Not! It doesn't matter if there's a central heat/air vent inside sunroom, the overall quality is far, far below that of good normal quality construction. A Sunroom has sunroom value but not living area value.

This Listing Agent misrepresented living area to the public by over 200sf with a listing price in the $130/sf (on realtor.com). Don't be that REALTOR!

Other Sunroom Resources By Appraisers: 

Sunroom Values in Baton Rouge - Links Resources From Appraisers by Bill Cobb 


Can a sunroom be included in the gross living area of a home? by Tom Horn, SRA 


Four areas the appraiser will not include in your homes square footage by Tom Horn, SRA


Bill Is Greater Baton Rouge's Home Appraiser with 21 Yrs Experience. Bill is also publisher of Baton Rouge Housing News BatonRougeHousingReports.Com. Ask Bill Your Questions: http://bit.ly/GSvAXd 



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Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I just went through my first two homes that 'didn't appraise' this year. The second one--the appraiser used comps from 2014!  Didn't quite understand that.  Anyway, always good to read tips from an actual appraiser!

Nov 05, 2015 07:36 AM #1
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Interesting.  Some of your information is area specific of course, but the majority flies.  We don't have to measure rooms in AZ.  We report square footage and where we got that information. It's standard practice for appraisers to measure the rooms.  I agree with AMC's and lack of communication.  I've had to step in and make sure that an appraiser is competent to value solar and communicat that directly to the lender. 

Nov 05, 2015 07:41 AM #2
Patrick Willard
Rio Rancho, NM

Incorrect SF is often as much a matter of trying to make the price look better as it is agents just not knowing how to measure. I know one local agent, a very successful one, that lists SF by builders floor plans when the homes are priced right and by something more when the prices are higher to make the $ per SF look better.

I've also seen very large variations between MLS and tax records. A couple months ago I caught the appraisers from the assessor's office taking pictures and stopped to talk to them. Their GLA on my house was way off, on the high side, so I made them remeasure. Their "estimate" on my side walls was off by 9 feet!

Nov 05, 2015 08:27 AM #3
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Interesting subject here.  In our area, we measure the rooms but the SF we use is from the Public Records unless the seller can prove otherwise and then we disclose the SF came directly from the seller.  In talking with a number of appraisers in our area ... I've been told there are so many different ways to measure a room ... and if you talk with 3 different appraisers you get 3 different answers. Can be confusing.  So I am satisfied using the Public Records.

Nov 05, 2015 12:17 PM #4
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

I personally know 3 appraisers in my area. The complaints and stories I hear are a little confusing to discuss in this space. Always do your best and CYA...

Nov 05, 2015 11:09 PM #5
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Basics and so many agents have no idea how to do this. Great post, thanks

Nov 06, 2015 01:31 AM #6
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Interesting post and information. I was discussing the carve outs relative to the living sf area  with another agent, things like closets, wash rooms, hallways, etc.

Would including the entire sf of the property including carve outs be considered misleading? The agent said it's common practice for agents to list total sf and insert a disclaimer in the MLS listing. What do you think about this practice? 

Nov 06, 2015 05:08 PM #7
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Bill Cobb

Greater Baton Rouge's Home Appraiser
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