Faster turn times for appraisals without compromising quality.

Real Estate Appraiser with Sulamo Appraisal Service

In this new environment it is a reality that the appraisal is ordered near or at the end of the loan process which means "all we are waiting on is the appraisal" has never been so true.  No deal is a done deal until it's closed and recorded.

So . . . how can you effect faster turn times without compromising the quality of your appraisal?

1. Provide complete and accurate information about the subject property.  There is nothing like being one number off on the address to add unnecessary time to an appraisal.  Provide your appraiser with as much information as you have, tax parcel number, subdivision name, PUD information or anything else that is relevant to the subject property.  Your professional appraiser will even welcome lists of recent sales you used in setting your list or contract price - though the appraiser must always do their own due diligence on comparable sales and they may differ from yours.  Provide the complete sales contract with the order and FHA case # if the order is FHA (the assignment letter is best to prevent any error in the number on the report which will unnecessarly delay the underwriting process).

2. What is unique about the property?  Let the appraiser know upfront of any unique features, has it been recently remodeled or are the zoning restrictions, repairs needed (missing water heater? thermostate for CH&A missing?) these items will be apparent when the inspection is done but it will allow the appraiser to better prepare for the inspection and narrow down the comparable search for better comparables, knowing them as soon a possible allows for a quicker turn around time for your appraisal.

3. Are the occupants of the home aware of what to expect? Setting the appraisal appointment can be a time consuming part of the process.  Some homeowner are uncomfortable with a stranger in their home looking around and making notes.  Some think the home must be spotless before the appraiser arrives so they put off the appointment.  Letting them know dusting and polishing will not make it more likely their loan will close can go a long way to trimming time it takes to inspect a home.  Let them know it is in their interest to set the appointment as quickly as possible.

4. Putting any concessions in the financing comments of MLS will help everyone as we are required to ask on each closed sale and disclose concessions so having them in MLS means fewer phone calls to get the details.

A well written and supported report is extreamly important and getting it to you as quickly as possible without compromising the report is the Professional Appraiser's goal.



Comments (4)

Jessica Bigger
Bigger Communications - Reston, VA
Freelance Real Estate Business Writer

Hey Cynthia this is great advice.  I have one question though - as Realtors up here in Humboldt County CA we're advised at least on the initial appraisal to not even have a conversation with the appraiser about the unique areas of a property or what we think the property is worth because of the fear of influencing the appraiser and having that come back and bite the Broker in the #$% in court.  What's your take on this, especially since we both work in the CA real estate market with same laws and regulations?

Nov 13, 2008 06:59 AM
Cynthia Sulamo
Sulamo Appraisal Service - Folsom, CA

Hi Jessica,

It saddens me to hear that advise is being given out.  I believe we are professionals.  You can give me any information along with your beliefs on the market or value, as a professional it is still my job to research the market and support my appraisal with market data.  Your opinion is not going to influence the value, I will listen, I will research and I will let the market tell me what the value is based on the data. 

This comes back to my idea of the team concept.  I prefer to work with folks I know, they are honest and professional and they know I will listen and support my conclusion with market data not opinion of what I or anyone else "thinks" it should be.    This also means that if a client calls with information after my report is done that may influence it I will research that to see if I "missed" something, we are human and can miss something.  This is not adversly influencing the appraiser UNLESS the appraiser allows it to.  We cannot predetermine a value, we cannot guarantee a value but I hate to think that appraisers as licensed professionals allow themselves to be easily influenced.  If you tell your doctor you think you have a disease he is not going to treat you for it until he runs his tests and analyzes the results, but the information you give him could be important in allowing him to make a timely diagnosis.  Honest Professionals I think that is what it all boils down to. I have walked away from clients that have asked me to do something illegal and it does happen but we do not have to participate.  I do not consider that "lost business" more like dodging a bullet and remaining ethical.

There is some legislation now up that would prohibit anyone giving the appraiser an opinion of value or estimate of value on an appraisal order.  This to me makes no sense as we are required to read all sales contracts including addemdums which clearly state sales price and analyze them in the appraisal. 

All that being said we do live in California and I think we all have to set our own "business rules" to guard against lawsuits or the appearance of impropriety.   Working with professionals I have a business relationship with and trust as honest professionals allows me to do my job better as I am not wasting time watching my back.

Thank you for reading my blog and your comments. 



Nov 13, 2008 10:27 AM
Jessica Bigger
Bigger Communications - Reston, VA
Freelance Real Estate Business Writer

Thanks Cynthia for your perspective.  Between you and me I completely agree with you and I think the team effort is the way to go.  It's frustrating that I'm warned by higher ups to not provide above and beyond service to my clients because "there might be a "potential to sway the appraiser" which those same clients might use against the brokerage if their home is worth less next year or there is another issue down the road.  That's been the scenario brought up to me on the justification on why I should not have any discussion with the appraiser.  Trust me I'm with you on this one.   I too think it's ridiculous.

Nov 14, 2008 08:27 AM
Cynthia Sulamo
Sulamo Appraisal Service - Folsom, CA

Good Afternoon Jessica

Hopefully common sense and professional ethics will prevail in the end.  I wish you much success and a terrific professional ethical appraiser to work with!

Have a terrific day  and holiday season!


Nov 14, 2008 08:47 AM