Part of my job is to explain market value and how an appraiser will substantiate market value to a seller, none of which are remotely connected to the website Zillow. Most of the time I’m able to make sellers understand, but as a Sacramento real estate agent, I also get those who don’t care how long a home sits on the market (and loses its desirability with each passing day), and there’s not much I can do about those attitudes but go with the flow. After all, it’s not my home. It’s not my job to make that listing my home, even though I may care deeply about whether it sells.
Home sellers in Sacramento often ask me how much is my home worth when that’s not really what they want to know. They want to know how much will their home sell for, and that could be two very different numbers. On the other hand, they might want to know if they can do a short sale, in which case the answer is always, without fail: the price will be market value, based on comparable sales, providing the seller qualifies.
It’s not the sellers’ fault. Sacramento real estate can be a big confusing can o’ worms. I imagine sellers hear all kinds of crap from neighbors, coworkers, relatives and others whom, even though they might have actually sold a home or two, haven’t worked with an agent who works the way the one in front of you does.
It’s not astonishing that people do not understand how a Sacramento appraiser appraises a home, and why not all appraisals are a guarantee of value. Unless you’re a person who is really wedded to this business, like, say, this Sacramento real estate agent. But most individuals don’t sell or buy enough homes in their lifetime to care much about the details. They also might think a bank appraisal is like receiving a certificate of gold, as though it’s redeemable somehow or an item of value to treasure.
Holy toledo, I just closed the highest per-square-foot cost home in North Highlands over the past 6 months! This is a typical 1957 tract home, about 1,100 square feet, located in a quiet neighborhood of similar homes, in which the highest priced home sold at $140 per square foot. This home closed at $177. You think we didn’t struggle with the appraisal? You betcha we struggled.
When the appraiser called to make an appointment, I mentioned that if she needed additional comps, she could feel free to call me. That’s polite code for if the home won’t appraise, let me know and I will help. See, I think it’s very insulting for a Sacramento real estate agent to throw comparable sales at an appraiser. It’s telling the appraiser that the appraiser doesn’t know how to do her job. It sends an demeaning message, but agents don’t stop to think about how an appraiser interprets their “assistance.”
You’ve got to love this crazy seller’s market in Sacramento right now, even if you’re not a Sacramento real estate agent who sells a lot of listings like me. It challenges an agent to be her best each and every single day. Sometimes, being your best involves biting your tongue a little bit, and other times it means providing lengthy explanations to your clients so they thoroughly understand the marketplace. In my experience, an informed seller is a happy seller.
A buyer’s agent in West Sacramento told one of my sellers yesterday that her buyer would have paid almost $150,000 over list price for her home that went into escrow last week. The agent claimed the home was deliberately under priced. First, the home was in pending status, so why the agent was over there talking to the seller is beyond me. Second, it violates the Code of Ethics to discuss pricing with a seller when that seller is represented by another agent. But those are minor irritations when looking at the big picture. The big picture is that statement is a big, fat lie. Oh, man, no wonder people are confused.