How to Avoid Low Appraisals When Selling Your Bristow Home

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

How to Avoid Low Appraisals When Selling Your Bristow Home

When you are selling your Bristow, VA home at a time when prices are increasing, appraisers can be stingy.  They don't like to get overly optimistic since our real estate crash a decade ago.  They are very cautious and the result is that many sellers are facing low appraisals.  And low appraisals mean sellers are faced with lower their sales price so the buyers can proceed to settlement.  Since I studied appraisals for three months as part of getting my broker's license at the end of 2010, the appraisal issues my clients experience can be counted on one hand.  That wouldn't be impressive if I only sold ten or fifteen houses since then.  Not at all the case.  

Since receiving my broker's license, I have listed and sold 95 homes.  Three of those had appraisal issues.  First was just a tad low and there was nothing to be done.  The second appraisal issue I predicted, and we still sold over list price.  Finally, the most recent I fought and had overturned within twenty-four hours.  

The start of avoiding appraisal issues is knowing how to price a property correctly.  My sellers get very accurate price analysis of their homes that doesn't over estimate for improvements.  A lot of agents will tell you what you want to hear for value, but then a month down the road, you are crying with a super low appraisal.  Starting with a realistic sales price is a must.  Not all improvements to your home are going to show up in a higher sales price.

Knowing what information to provide the appraiser is priceless.  One thing I learned at the hands of the appraiser who taught us that appraisal module of the broker licensing, was to always give information to the appraiser.  It helps them to see why we priced the way we did.  To know how many offers were on the home.  To have a list of improvements by the year they were done.  Floor plans.  House location plats.  And sometimes just to be able to express why a buyer chose this home over others listed lower.  That could be school districts or other desirable location information.

Over the years, I have learned that I must take my cues on how to deliver that information to appraisers by speaking with them.  Some like to meet you at the property.  Others just want comps emailed.  Working with them they way they find most useful helps.

And just because a buyer doesn't have an appraisal contingency doesn't mean that, as a listing agent, I sit back and wait.  No way.  I don't want my sellers to experience any bumps in the road and buyers with bad feelings about a low appraisal, despite not having an appraisal contingency, create drama.  Just this past week, I had that situation.  A buyer on my listing had no appraisal contingency and we were reaching for the highest sales price by a decent chunk. This would be a record setting sale.  Like always, I did my homework and gave it to the appraiser as they requested.  Wouldn't you know, it's another in the column of improbable appraisals that came in at the very optimistic sales price.  I don't wait to hear what the appraiser says.  I give them reasons why our sales price is right on target.

Just because you know someone with a license doesn't mean they have all the same training and skills as agents like me.  In this business, you have to want to better yourself.  You have to have a desire to improve your business.  That is why I got my broker's license.  That is why I view every optimistic sales price as an appraisal challenge.  I love bringing values in for my clients.  Keep that in mind when you are making your decision on who will hire when you sell your Bristow, VA home.



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Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Great story and illustrations. Thanks for sharing your successes.

Apr 13, 2017 05:58 AM #24
Lisa Perry - NMLS # 276329
FHA, VA, Jumbo, Downpayment Assistance, Conv. - Stafford, VA
Northern VA-80/15/5 100% Loans - Grant Money

Great information Chris!  I really like the part about pricing it right.  As a lender, sometimes we get blind sided.  Again, Thanks for sharing.

Apr 13, 2017 06:06 AM #25
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Well written blog post- thank you. My appraisal issues ( some of these would be BPOs by agents) have been with short sales and the numbers coming in much higher than I can realistically get for the property. Then I started attending the appraisals and holding the tape measure or going ahead and turning on light etc. I also email and personally hand the appraiser my comps and a detailed observance of the property issues (frozen pipes, Windows that need replacement, drainage problems) along with estimates of the repairs etc.

Apr 13, 2017 06:36 AM #26
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Here is proof that Real Estate works if you work it. Good job Chris Ann Cleland 

Apr 13, 2017 06:39 AM #27
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

Local knowledge, experience and realistic expectations deliver satisfied customers!

Apr 13, 2017 06:48 AM #28
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Great post, with good points we can all apply. I have had some appraisers want to meet at the property others just email it to me they say. In our area recently we are seeing prices going over regularly and the appraisers do seem to be aware of the market.

Apr 13, 2017 07:31 AM #29
Nogui Aramburo
Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® - Raleigh, NC
Real Estate Professional in the Raleigh Area

I'm dealing with a seller who wants 10K over appraised value. So he wants my buyer to come with 10K cash, plus down payment and closing costs. Looks like someone is huffing glue.

Apr 13, 2017 07:56 AM #30
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco

Great job on explaining how you work with appraisers and what type of information is helpful to appraisers. You obviously work diligently on behalf of your clients.

Apr 13, 2017 08:02 AM #31
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Great post, Chris Ann. You know, in our market in Sacramento, with extremely limited inventory, low appraisals are due to the fact we have no comps! You can price a home within reason, and buyers will bid over it, but it won't appraise because you need at least 3 comps with a couple of pending sales to support it, and those sales are NOT THERE.

Apr 13, 2017 08:35 AM #32
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Chris Ann,

That is where knowing about the long list of recent upgrades comes in handy. Yes, the other homes have kitchens & baths too. All to the latest & greatest builder grade of 1986. You could live with that, but finding a home that has recent upgrades already done is so much nicer & worth the difference in not having to do it yourself.

Apr 13, 2017 09:53 AM #33
Margaret Mitchell
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty - York, ME
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate

Hello Chris Ann,

This is very good advice in our rising market. I like your point of letting  the appraiser tell you how they want the info delivered.

Apr 13, 2017 11:31 AM #34
Barbara Le Pine
Advantage Real Estate, serving Lincoln County - Newport, OR
Your agent for the Central Oregon Coast!

Chris Ann,

I agree, it is best to take cues on how best to deliver your information.....I always ask the appraiser if they want cream and sugar with the "coffee and comps" I will be bringing with me to the appraisal appointment! :)

Excellent blog post!

Apr 13, 2017 01:33 PM #35
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Sorry but had to come back for the re-appraisal value. OOOPS, what do you mean the selling price was toooo low. Sorry, still dreaming, cheers cvc

Apr 13, 2017 03:14 PM #36
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Chris Ann,  Pricing a home to sell is huge piece of the appraisal equation. Adding to that ... setting the right expectations with sellers ... and buyers.  In my market agents are setting listing prices above what any comps will support ... and adding that "we don't think appraisal will be an issues because [fill in the blank]. To which I add, okay, If the property does not appraise is the seller willing to sign an addendum stating they will lower the price to the appraised value?  Under breath ... we call that putting ones money where ones mouth is 

Congratulations on the Feature!

Apr 13, 2017 05:06 PM #37
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

Great post at a great time. Appraisals can certainly make a difference. Currently have a listing that I'm concerned won't appraise, seller just doesn't want to believe the comps. (Took the lising because I went to school with the seller, 35 years ago, mind you),  Regardless, have shared comps, market data, and my opinion that it won't appraise for their "perfect price". Hope they get it!

Apr 13, 2017 08:18 PM #38
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Very helpful reminders to have your proofs ready and work with appraisers according to their preference when possible. Thanks, Chris Ann.

Apr 14, 2017 02:06 PM #39
Beverly Femia
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Hampstead, NC
Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are

At the appraisal appointment, I always open the door to my listing to greet the appraiser and my standard line is "i haven't met an appraiser yet who wasn't glad to know how we got tot the listing price.  Appraisers often tell me I make things easy by providing good information.  My best comps, survey, list of updates and dates and pricing.  If there were multiple offers, that's important information,  If we didn't take the high offer because we didn't want appraisal issues, it's important information.  I could go on for pages.  Bottom line is I know when I'm on solid ground, shaky ground and in quicksand.  If I'm in quicksand, it will be for lack of comps and every item to support the property will assist the appraiser in making a determination of value. 

Apr 15, 2017 07:01 AM #40
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Awesome post on how to avoid low appraisals when selling your Bristow home!  Love your analysis and especially not over-pricing a home.  That strategy isn't the best to get a home sold and fairly appraised.  You have a great record of winning appraisals and sales.  Kudos! 

Apr 15, 2017 10:20 PM #41
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Um, maintain the house?  Clean it up?  Sparkle the landscaping?  Do smart improvements?  Upgrading as needed?  Cookie smell in the house?

And make sure the dog chases the appraiser around during the visit.  Smart.

Apr 16, 2017 05:28 AM #42
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

I have seen more appraisal issues this year than any of my 31 others Chris Ann Cleland. I like to go over this with my sellers and look to head off such issues 

Apr 16, 2017 02:52 PM #43
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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