Where the rules and ethics fall, regarding information given to an appraiser from a realtor, it can become a gray area. There are “may and may not” rules that should be followed in order to produce an impartial appraisal.
Agents May Provide Comparables:
Realtors may provide their comparable sales information to an appraiser. In some cases these appraisers do not want nor will they accept the information from the realtor. They believe the realtor might try to direct them to certain property values. This can be a valid concern for appraisers as there are agents that are doing exactly that. The agent would be better off providing the appraiser comparables using comp selection techniques, used by appraisers. Appraisers, just like anyone else, can overlook valuable aspects of sales and that could be greatly reduced if they consider the information provided by the realtor.
Agents May Provide Other Information:
Realtors may provide information regarding various home improvements, advantages of a specific neighborhood, etc. If there have been home improvements and renovations, this information should be relayed to the appraiser. It’s a good idea to supply the appraiser with copies of improvements made to the house over the past 15 or so years. That way the appraiser may take that information into the overall appraisal. This is also valuable because some improvements might go unnoticed by the human eye such as insulation improvements, storage, attics or basements.
Agents May Not Suggest Sales Amounts:
It is totally off limits for a realtor to suggest that a home should be appraised for a certain amount. Comments such as I have plenty of sales data to support a certain appraisal without a problem. Or, I can give you comps to support the contract. This is a bold attempt to move the appraiser to their side and is considered highly unethical.
Agents May Not Discuss Findings With The Appraiser After the Appraisal:
After the appraisal is completed, the appraiser is bound by USPAP Ethics Guidelines and may not discuss their findings with anyone except their client. An agent may not discuss this with the appraiser. Should the agent have any questions or concerns regarding the appraisal, they must contact the lender and speak with them.
Keep in mind, if you feel you did not get a fair shake from the appraiser, you can state your concerns and reasons in writing. If you have any information that will support your viewpoint attach that information to your written request. This is why it is always an excellent idea to provide any and all information to the appraiser at the beginning of the inspection. This includes upgrades, renovations or information you have regarding sales you used to price your home.
Keep in mind, appraisers are not out to get you! They will deliver the very best assessment that they can with the information they have been provided. So keep that thought before the appraiser starts their investigation.