Why Builders Need to Start Talking to Their Appraisers

Talking to Appraisers

As a builder, you can (and should) communicate with the appraiser to ensure that you receive an accurate valuation of the new homes you are selling. Here’s how builders can open the lines of communication with appraisers.

Builders are Allowed to Communicate with Appraisers

Transparency and communication in appraisals are essential for all parties involved. However, many builders are unaware of how much interaction they may have with an appraiser, and some even believe (incorrectly) that they are entirely prohibited from speaking to an appraiser. In light of these misconceptions, many builders are surprised to learn that appraisers can disclose quite a bit of information about their methods. According to David S. Bunton, president of the Appraisal Foundation, most “appraisers welcome any information that helps them to do their job.”

Communicate with the Appraiser

As a builder, you should communicate with the appraiser and provide them with:

  • Sales information for your city/county/region
  • Specifications for the property
  • Energy-efficiency features of the home
  • Details on what materials were used and buyers’ reaction to those material selections

You also can tell the appraiser the sale price of the home, Allen Gardiner, SRA, vice president of residential at Plano, Texas-based Jackson Claborn states. “There’s nothing restricting a builder from showing the appraiser the sales price,” he says. “The appraiser is the only one who has to remain unbiased. Don’t be shy. The appraiser is going to find out anyway.”

Understand Energy Efficiency Values

Make sure a home’s energy efficiency is highlighted and is valued on the appraisal. Provide the appraiser with all of the specifications, certifications and third-party verifications. Energy efficiency adds long-term value because it saves homeowners money every year, and should not be overlooked in the appraisal process.

Be Proactive in Communication

Now that you know you aren’t forbidden from speaking to appraisers, and you know what information they need, be proactive about communicating. Instead of waiting until a problem arises to send pertinent information, provide any valuable information to the appraiser in advance. Being forthcoming up front will save time and make the appraisal process more efficient for everyone involved.

Meet the Appraiser at the Home

Who better to highlight the features that add value to your home but you, and where better than at the home, where you can point them out to the appraiser? If you can’t be there, consider sending a sales agent or developing a checklist for your staff on information to provide the appraiser.

It’s important to recognize that it’s the duty of qualified appraisers to provide credible opinions on a home’s value. The more information the appraiser has about your property, the better they will be able to develop a reliable appraisal. Remember that any information that assists an appraiser is not only allowed, it is welcomed, so don’t be afraid to communicate.


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