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Rules of engagement in home appraisals


CHICAGO – April 23, 2014 – Widespread misunderstanding regarding home appraisals has the potential to derail sales.

Some real estate agents and even appraisers believe, for example, that they can get in legal and ethical trouble for even talking to an appraisal professional during the valuation process. However, John Brenan of the Appraisal Foundation says there is nothing wrong with agents offering comparable sales and other supplemental material that could help appraisers arrive at a fair number.

"Most appraisers warmly welcome that kind of information," Brenan says. "The more information, the better. But what can't come with that information is some kind of condition. … It's OK as long as the communication isn't intended to unduly influence the outcome."

If agents or their clients believe the a valuation misses the mark, Brenan says they should obtain additional data, such as closed sales or new listings, and submit a brief explanation of what was missing in the appraisal.

He notes that even though appraisers cannot talk about the final value with homeowners unless given permission to do so by the lender, that should not prevent homeowners from providing useful information to appraisers – such as information about a new roof or new windows added to the home a year ago.

Source: Chicago Tribune (04/19/14) Umberger, Mary

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Related Topics: Appraisal