Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Appraisal Gaps...A Rant, and Perhaps some Insight

Once again I have an appraisal gap on one of the deals I am involved in. It is a $4,000 difference. I have had a few of these before, but this is the first since the inception of my blog, so now I can rant here, instead of pacing and muttering in my office.

An appraiser is hired by the lender to determine "market value", and to ensure that the collateral is equal to the loan. However, in my opinion, the appraisal process is flawed, and very often the appraiser is clueless, for lack of a better term

The definition of "market value" is: "the estimated amount for which a property should exchange on the date of valuation between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s-length transaction after proper marketing wherein the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently, and without compulsion."

Now to me that means that "market value" has been determined before the appraiser ever sets foot on the property. A competent real estate broker (i.e. myself) has already evaluated the home, set an estimated sale price, produced a willing buyer, and procured an offer. The value of the property becomes what someone is willing to pay for it.

Now some will argue that it could be a nutcase who is willing to pay much more than the home is worth, so that is where the appraiser comes in, and I agree, but when the appraisal comes in less than 2% below the asking price, are you serious? Can you really believe that the appraisal process is that specific? Of course not, it is a joke.

The first thing the appraisal company asks for is a signed copy of the contracts. So they know the price before they ever look at the house. To me that is ridiculous. If you are so confident in your ability to determine fair value, go in blind. Give me a real opinion, not one carefully crafted around a pre-determined number.

So over $4,000 the deal comes to a screeching halt--1.82% In this unstable market, some would argue that home values could change that much in a few weeks. But rigid banks, and clueless appraisers, cannot see the big picture. It is frustrating.

Now let me say that I have worked with some good appraisers, who get it. And believe me an appraiser who gets it would never turn in an appraisal this close to the price.

It reminds of the type of people who say they can only have Grey Goose in their vodka tonics, and yet in a blind taste test, you know that they will not tell the difference between that and Smirnoff. Self importance to me is one of the most distasteful characteristics, and an appraisal, at 1.82% below ask, screams of self importance.

All right, I feel a little better...

No comments:

Post a Comment