You would think if you were a Sacramento appraiser trying to get noticed online, that a guy like that would be more careful about what he says and how he says it. It started last spring over a home in Carmichael I had briefly listed, which had been the unintentional topic of many alt-right news reports. The Tweets from the Sacramento appraiser eventually made it to the Sac Bee online news. Due to the orchestrating of bringing proprietary information not meant for public consumption to the public by the appraiser. In other words, look as though this Sacramento appraiser made it his business to Tweet about a member-only status in MLS with the intention of purposely igniting the alt-right.
And ignite the alt-right he did. Whether he is an official Trump supporter is only a hypothesis mentioned by others, but this person seems to show a lot of empathy for that group. Yet it seems that his ability to poke his nose into situations that are not his business know no bounds. He obviously flagged the property in question in MLS and when a status change showed up, he Tweeted about it in such a manner that the seller says he caused her mental anguish and physical pain. The status change was to Temporary Off Market, which is only available to members of MLS.
It means this seemingly right-leaning Sacramento appraiser crafted a Tweet about a property he had no right to Tweet. His intention was self promotion. This was not his listing. He did not appraise this property. The seller believes he abused his MLS membership by taking private information and making it public without permission. At the time, I had the property listed and put it into TOM status for a number of reasons. For starters, the seller, her agent and her agent’s company began to receive vile threats and emails from all over the country, thanks to this appraiser. This guy’s effort to make a buck off somebody else’s distress is frightening. He jumped right in and added fuel to the burning fire. People threatened to literally burn down the house because of this Sacramento appraiser’s Tweet.
When I originally listed the property, it was a bit high. The seller based her price on another property on the same street in the same vintage condition that sold a couple of years ago. Sometimes, vintage homes fetch prices you won’t believe. My method of operation is to always try to get the amount the seller would like, within reason. And with the understanding that if we can’t get it, the price will be adjusted. After we placed the property in TOM status, I had several discussions with the seller about reducing the price. Based on her reaction, I could see this would be a long process. Months.
At this point, the seller also wanted me to file a complaint against the Sacramento appraiser at the California Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers for unprofessional conduct. For putting his own personal profit ahead of decency. I could understand the seller wanting to report him, but my part in this was not required. His participation in the false supposition that the seller lost $130,000 because she refused to sell to a Trump supporter was way off base. She dropped that stipulation months earlier. But perhaps the seller should pursue her $130K loss in court? If it’s on Twitter, it must be true.
I guess a case could be made by an astute lawyer that the Sacramento appraiser caused her to lose that money. I’m not a lawyer so I wouldn’t know. Instead I suggested the seller contact a lawyer, and I sent her several referrals.
In any case, this was the seller’s obligation to object to and file. She was the most damaged from the Sacramento appraiser’s careless, stupid and thoughtless actions. The agents are not really a party to the transaction or to her grief. Although, the situation had caused me to more thoroughly examine the facts at hand:
- Alt-righters and White supremacists were threatening to burn down the house, among other distasteful actions.
- A Sacramento appraiser who won’t stop tweeting, regardless of how much damage he causes, about matters that are not his concern.
- A seller who needed a lot more encouragement to reduce her price to where it needed to be, and the fact that this high maintenance issue was eating up all of my available time and then some.
- The seller didn’t use a computer and lived out-of-town.
- Every conversation lasted at least an hour, almost daily.
- Listing was too high publicity. The seller deserved a fresh start because my marketing and branding were too easily recognizable. It was best for the seller to let a new agent at a different company handle this.
As a top producer in Sacramento real estate, I regularly sell a couple of houses a week, on average. So, I turned to one of my very best friends in Sacramento real estate, a listing agent I admire, trust and respect, and asked her to take over the listing. My seller still deserved the best service available, and this agent and I are like two peas in a pod.
Sacramento Appraiser Tweets Again
Sure enough, soon as my friend listed the property — which took her several months to get into MLS — the Sacramento appraiser struck again. She had just put the listing into pending status after only a few days on market. This time his Tweet raised such a ruckus that the buyers canceled. They told the listing agent they did not want to buy a house associated with this Sacramento appraiser’s Tweets. They did not want their new home burned down. Fortunately, the agent promptly sold it again without changing the status in MLS and without notifying the busybody Sacramento appraiser.
When I asked the listing agent what she thought of this Sacramento appraiser’s actions, she texted, “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinions, but when you try to bring other people down based on your belief system, and try to profit off it, that’s stepping way over the line of professionalism, into hatred and bias and greed, [that’s the case of] a small-minded pea brain.”
Consumers deserve a good appraiser, too. The best appraiser in Sacramento, a professional I can personally vouch for, is Amy Parker at Appraise it Today.
This home in Carmichael, btw, has closed escrow.
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.
One of my clients shared with me recently that his accountant told him Zillow is 10% underpriced with its Zestimates. I didn’t think anything of that statement — because it’s ridiculous — until I realized that there are people who actually believe it. Not anybody in my circle of real estate agents or appraisers or other real estate professionals, but the public thinks because Zillow notes an estimate on a website, it must be true. After all, they found it on the Internet.
The basis for that statement were two homes his accountant saw that had sold for 10% more. Therefore, my seller’s accountant must have automatically leaped to that conclusion, which doesn’t say much about his accounting skills now, does it? My own home is priced $150,000 more than its worth in Zillow. That’s certainly not 10% of its value. It’s widely known that Zillow estimates are all over the map and often there is no set correlation to value. That’s because it’s a computer-generated algorithm that isn’t even as reliable as something like Realist or Metrolist comparables, which still require a human touch because square footage isn’t enough. You can’t price a home on square footage alone just like you can’t live on cans of tuna fish.
Zillow is getting better but it’s just not there yet. It’s great for looking at maps and playing around but it doesn’t have all of the homes for sale much less an accurate value.
Zillow doesn’t know if that home sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean or if it’s nestled next door to a mobile home park. It doesn’t know if the floors are marble or dirt. It doesn’t know if planes fly overhead ten times a day. It doesn’t know if the guy next door fixes motorcycles in his front yard. It doesn’t know if the plumbing has been updated or if water trickles into the sink at the rate of two drops a minute. It doesn’t know if the home is close to a desirable school or a military base. It doesn’t know if the buyer will walk in the front door and fall in love or turn around and run. Quite frankly, Zillow doesn’t know crap.
Which is why a seller will always need a professional and experienced Sacramento real estate agent, and we’ll never go out of style.