How do Sacramento appraisals work? Appraisals are something that is always interesting to talk about. This excerpt below was provided from a blog, which Elizabeth wrote some years back. It got me to thinking about the various appraisal challenges we have had. A great subject to write about today for our blog.
One of the actions we take to assist with the appraisal process is to provide the comparable sales that support our list price. When our listings go pending we change showing instructions to not reflect a lockbox. This ensures the appraiser calls us to get in so they can’t enter without us. As if they can get in and out they may leave with very little information and then a low appraisal. Additionally, we provide the appraiser all the upgrades and features that support our list price. Many appraisers want to bring the value in however, without the added information we provide the appraisal can come in below the sales price. What does a low appraisal mean to a seller? A topic for another blog, the impacts of a low appraisal in escrow.
It only gets better from here on out, so here goes my first tip for Sacramento Realtors who meet with the appraiser: DON’T. The appraiser does not want to meet with the listing agent and most certainly is not interested in the buyer’s agent’s opinion about world politics, either. The appraiser is at the home to do a job that is best done without a yakking agent bending her or his ear. They’re just too polite to say it.
This is not to say that appraisers don’t appreciate information about the home that might not be evident from the tax rolls, MLS description or physical inspection because they do. If an agent or seller has access to crucial data that would make a difference in the appraisal, that information can be emailed to the appraiser or discussed over the phone. It won’t help to increase chances of a higher appraisal to deliver that document in person. I often engage in lengthy phone conversations with appraisers to ascertain their expertise in a given neighborhood and lend my advice but I would not show up on the front steps, back against the front door, arms splayed, to force a discussion.
Now, when I was younger and selling real estate in Orange County in the 1970s, I used to believe the hoopla and myth that it made sense to meet the appraiser. But those bellbottom-and-incense days are long gone and did not involve the appraisals laws we have today. Although I did spot bellbottoms with a twist, skinny thighs, at Nordstrom this spring. I won’t go so far as to say triple martinis and 3-hour lunches were not the norm or that some appraisers were crooked or on the take, but stuff was more relaxed during the Nixon-Ford-Carter era, let’s say. Yet, especially in Sacramento today, Sacramento Realtors who meet with the appraiser are often very disappointed that exuding their incredible charm, and that hand shaking, eyeballing and flitting about does not influence the appraisal value.
To give you an idea about how misled some agents are, there are buyer’s agents in Sacramento who believe it’s a good idea to send over to the listing agent the comparable sales, as they see it, along with a purchase offer. They have no clue how insulting they are, and what a bad impression they make. These are the guys who live in their own little fantasy drama where the world revolves around them and them only. The additional problem is they probably convinced their poor buyer to offer a price that won’t get them into escrow. And there’s often no changing those dual errors.
In real estate, there is stuff you hear that if it’s repeated enough times you might begin to believe. Then, there is the real world. The real world says Sacramento Realtors who meet with the appraiser are often wasting their time and, in fact, knowing some of them, they could be hurting their chances. Treating appraisers with respect is a much better path to follow. Allow the appraisers do their jobs in peace. Don’t invite trouble where trouble does not exist.
Why wasn’t I a robot? Isn’t that what the internet is for? You ask a question and get free information? What the hey . . .
It took me a while to explain that Zillow is a private website with which I have little interaction except that it maintains my profile and manages reviews for me, and I pay to have my photo plastered around Land Park. On top of which, the homes in Land Park are special and unique. They are different from each other. They are not tract homes like you’d find in Natomas or Elk Grove. An interior inspection could make the price swing by $50,000 to $100,000 to $150,000 or more. It’s only one of the reasons why Zillow is so completely inaccurate when it comes to pricing of homes in Land Park.
Many online property value websites use a computer algorithm and do not take into consideration upgrades, orientation on the lot, nuisances next door that could affect value nor the emotional pull of architectural details. That’s why a Land Park agent needs to see the interior of the home before rendering an opinion of value.
I mean, I could send a CMA, which is a comparative market analysis, but it involve throwing numbers into the air. It wouldn’t carry any weight. It would have no meaning. It would not be an appraisal or even a very good estimate of market value. It’s not like I belong to a secret cult that allows me access to information on behalf of the seller. I need to look at the home with my own two eyeballs, the old fashioned way.
Do I need to personally inspect every home in Sacramento to determine value? Surprisingly, no. Sometimes I am right on the money just knowing the neighborhood and amenities, but homes in Land Park, regardless of my familiarity, need the personal touch. Just like homes in East Sacramento and Curtis Park and Midtown. You can’t look at numbers and determine value without interior access. No professional REALTOR would attempt it.
After I explained all of this and was successful at getting him to understand, turns out the seller isn’t yet ready to sell. Not until the fall, after his tenants move. So a value submitted today would change by this September anyway. And the September market in Sacramento is different from the spring market. We’ll meet up after the summer is over.