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Appraiser Confusion: Yes, You CAN Talk to Them

What can you do/not do when a listing gets appraised? The answers are out there, though some members don’t call Florida Realtors Legal Hotline until something has gone wrong.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Realtors® Legal Hotline commonly gets questions about appraisers and the appraisal process, and there are lots of sources for the answers. Members remain confused on whether they can talk to an appraiser and what their options are if they don’t agree with an appraiser’s assessment.

Florida Realtors Legal Hotline: Top appraisal questions

Question: I’m not allowed to talk to the appraiser, right?

Answer: Actually, you can. Regulations allow real estate agents and others with an interest in the transaction to communicate with the appraiser. Of course, that comes with caveats: You can’t intimidate or coerce an appraiser with a bribe to get the valuation you want for your consumer.

Question: Since my buyer pays for the appraisal, that means my buyer is the appraiser’s client, right?

Answer: Actually, no, that isn’t accurate. Per the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), this is a common misconception. Generally, the party who engages the appraiser is the client, not whoever pays for it, and most commonly, the lender engages the appraiser. Therefore, in those instances, the lender is the client.

Question: What if my seller disagrees with the appraiser’s valuation of the property? Can I as the seller’s agent challenge the appraisal?

Answer: Once the appraisal assignment is complete and submitted back to the client, the appraiser is normally not allowed to speak about the results without the client’s permission. Any client request regarding an appraisal should be in writing. As NAR suggests, it’s best to get all relevant information to the appraiser before the inspection.

Question: Can I give the appraiser any information? And if so, what kind of information should I give?

Answer: NAR’s recommendation is to prepare a packet of information and give it to the appraiser in advance of the inspection. Some things you can include in the packet are plats, surveys, deeds, covenants, HOA documents, floor plans, inspection reports, comps, and any property updates or remodels that have been made.

NAR sources for appraisal information

Meredith Caruso is Associate General Counsel for Florida Realtors

Note: Information deemed accurate on date of publication

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