Appraisers are the least paid, worst treated and have the most control over the sale of your Mid Silicon Valley home. They can make or break the sale of your property. And they have been through the ringer in the last seven-plus years. They had a fairly secure, somewhat reliable business that went smoothly during most markets, whether homeowners were refinancing or buyers were purchasing. And then the government got involved and tried to fix the real estate industry. The Dodd Frank Act was the largest financial reform bill in US history. If that wasn’t enough to scare you…
The intention of Dodd Frank was to protect the consumer from the unscrupulous insanity that was happening prior to the real estate market crash which was the major cause of the Great Recession. One of the ways they wanted to do that was to rewrite the appraisal process. The new guidelines were supposed to insure that home appraisals nationwide were accurate and appraisers were not influenced by realtors who were bribing or threatening them to appraise properties at the sale price.
The new and improved version did nothing but confuse and scare the whole industry. There was a time where we were waiting for clarification on all of the new Dodd Frank guidelines which affected every aspect of real estate sales and finance; appraisal was just one of them. It was a mess. Nobody knew what to do and there wasn’t anybody we could call and ask because they didn’t know either.
While Dodd Frank was going through the motions, the Home Valuation Code of Conduct of 2009 came into effect. It said that not only could realtors literally not talk to appraisers, neither could the banks who were hiring them. Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) sprang from the appraisal ashes which created nothing but havoc and hell.
The wild west
These AMCs were the wild west of home appraising. They didn’t have a clue what they were doing. It was a cluster yuck. The AMCs didn’t care where the appraiser was from, what areas they were familiar with or how experienced they were. And those cowboys wanted to do appraisals in far off areas, especially on Mid Silicon Valley homes, where they could make more money because, according to new rules, appraisers must be paid a “customary and reasonable rate” for the market area in which the appraisal had been ordered. Who cared where they were from; it was about where the house was located, no matter how far they had to travel.
And we weren’t “allowed” to talk to the appraisers so we couldn’t help them either. We couldn’t provide them with the comparable properties stats that we used to determine the list price of the property or the comparable sales that the buyer’s agent used to come up with the eventual sale price.
When an appraiser called a realtor to make an appointment to see a house, the first question was: Where are you from? That was the beginning of the decline in respect and pay for the most powerful person in the sale of your Mid Silicon Valley property.
The good ol’ days
I had a conversation about all this with an appraiser the other day; a talk about the good ol’ days. He mentioned young realtors whose license numbers start with 022. (The higher the realtor license number, the newer the agent. To give you a reference point, my license is 01234535 – really – and I was licensed in 1998.) Anyway, these young bucks are rude, asking in a condescending, snotty way if he’s from the area and how long he’s been doing appraisals.
What they don’t seem to get is that the appraiser can appraise the property at the sales price, or not. Give them a ration of crap and watch out. If the property is appraised below the sale price, it will create an 7.5 earthquake on the sale of their client’s property.
The pendulum has swung back the other way slightly – at least in some ways. The appraisers are, once again, local, seasoned and professional. We can provide them with comps; whether they use them or not is up to them. The one thing that hasn’t swung back in their favor is the respect to their profession or the amount of their paychecks.
What you should do before the appraiser is comes over to appraise your Mid Silicon Valley home
Your house should look like it did the first day it went on the market. Everything cleaned, polished, shiny and smelling fresh. You’re trying to impress them as much as a buyer walking in for the first time.
Put the dog away – no matter how friendly. I was actually at an appraisal when the dog bit the guy – this one was friendly, too. Not a good way to make a first impression.
Your realtor should absolutely be there with the door open, the lights on and a list of recent comparable sales. This is not the time to take chances on everything working out in your favor.
Today’s Real Estate article “Do you know who actually controls the sale of your Mid Silicon Valley home?” was written by Vicki Moore, Today Sotheby’s International Realty.
You’ll find Vicki selling homes in Mid Silicon Valley, San Mateo County, in the cities of Foster City Homes and Condos For Sale, Pacifica Homes and Condos for Sale, Redwood City Homes and Condos For Sale, Redwood Shores Homes and Condos For Sale, San Carlos Homes and Condos For Sale, San Mateo Homes and Condos For Sale.
Call Vicki at 650-888-9268 or email [email protected] if you have questions about boosting your home’s value.
Vicki Moore, a licensed California Real Estate Agent, CA BRE 01234539, serving Mid Silicon Valley | San Mateo County since 1998. Today Sotheby’s International Realty, San Carlos, CA.
You can speak with Vicki by calling/texting her at 650-888-9268 or you can email her at: [email protected] if you need to sell your Mid Silicon Valley home.