I am a real estate appraiser in Huntsville, TX. For those that don't know we are about 1 hour north of Houston, well, the northern part of it and about 2.5 hours south of Dallas.
Another appraiser and I were discussing the current state of appraisal business in this area and commenting about the amount of work that we seem to pass up because we are very busy and the scope of work in appraisals now is much higher than the "good ol' days". So of course we then discussed how appraisal management companies are pushing for quicker turn times and how hard it is to meet those.
After we hung up I started thinking and one thing came to mind....in our non-disclosure state we have a serious problem trying to obtain data about sales and listings to use in our appraisal reports. We are being challenged every day to explain our adjustments and how we arrived at them and I realized how much I rely on our local MLS and the agents who post their listings.
You see every time I see a sale that "might" be a good comparable I have to know details about it's condition, updating, quality of materials, age, gross living area, utility type, heat type, number of rooms as well as the bed and bath count. On waterfront properties some lenders are now asking (and have been for a while) for the water front footage on comparables we use...some want to know how much the subject GLA I measure is different from the county assessor GLA and why. Many times accurate lot sizes are hard to determine even with those online assessor measuring tools.
Thank you to those of you who put the survey and list of features with dates of updates in your listings. Thank you to those of you that put the seller's disclosure in the listing...and thank you for classifying your subject property for what it is...for putting manufactured homes as what they are so I don't sort through meaningless listings looking for comparables. (Hmmm, I sound a little like Jimmy Fallon on Friday nights with his thank you notes so just imagine that music in your head.. LOL).
Appraisal reports require so much information about the sales I utilize as comparables and of course sometimes I need complete information to determine why I don't have to use a sale (which might hurt the value in the neighborhood). Sometimes it's hard to explain why a sale that looks good on paper (size, time of sale, lot size, etc.) shouldn't be used. We need to have back up information to prove what we say.
So to those of you in our area who so diligently fill out the listing completely I honestly thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for those photos of all of the rooms you put in -- the close up ones that allow me to see how updated (or not) the kitchen and baths are...the type of flooring, any great upgrades and not so great lack of upkeep. My appraisal report requires I know these things -- the good, the bad and the ugly!
And to those of you who take my call when I am trying to find out these things - thank you for understanding and being so helpful. Sometimes you have the information I need and you are the only one who can provide it. Thank you for understanding that I am trying to do my job the very best way I can! And the quicker the better I think you are thinking right about now...
And the bottom line to all of this is -- the more information I have readily available the quicker and better I can do my job...
Again, many thanks to you all!