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I have received many questions regarding the new appraisal guidelines that have recently come about due to the COVID-19 virus. Specifically, lenders are ordering more and more drive-by and desktop appraisals to prevent appraisers entering peoples’ homes.


Now, what does this mean for you? As a real estate professional or seller this means you will need to be even more vigilant when it comes to the appraisal process. If you discover that your buyer’s bank has ordered a drive-by or desktop appraisal, there are a few things you can do to make sure the details of your listing or home are not overlooked.


First, I highly recommend to listing agents and sellers to state as much information about the property in their MLS listings. State the exact age of the roof, exact age of the kitchens and bathrooms, and exact age of updates that have been completed on the property (do not just say “recently updated” or “new”). It is here that I recommend stating any updates or renovations you would want the appraiser to take note of, (additions, built-ins, quartz counters, double paned windows, solar panels, etc.).


Second, I recommend having a PDF or Word document prepared of all the updates and renovations with the year they were completed ready to email to the appraiser when they call you for information regarding your listing or home. The reason I recommend emailing this list is because things can get lost in text messages. Appraisers receive many text messages all day long from unknown numbers and texts easily get lost in the shuffle of the day. Emails are easily marked and placed into the appraisal reports Work File (or storage center) in the report. *As a side-note, for those of you who do not know, appraisers are required to save all information they gather regarding the subject property into their reports Work File.


Third, MLS has an attachment feature in which listing agents can attach files to their listing. Using this feature, I would recommend attaching your list of updates/renovations with their dates, a previous appraiser hand measured floor plan that shows the actual sq ft of living area, seller disclosures, and a survey of the property, if available.


Additionally, when the appraiser calls you for clarification or more information about your listing ask them for their email address and email them all of the above-mentioned documents before they start their research. This way you are ensuring that the appraiser is using the most accurate information regarding the subject property when searching for comparable properties.


In my office, we have always prided ourselves on being proactive by making sure we get in touch with the listing agents and confirm any information we see in their MLS listings. This also gives them a chance to provide us with any new information or comparables they feel are a good representation of the subject property.


In summary, the above advice is to encourage you to be proactive, to ensure a smooth appraisal transaction, and that the property will sell for the most the market will bear.


Stay safe out there!


Kelly Kellogg, The Appraisal Expert!

The Appraisal Expert


Cert Res RD2727  

Posted by Kelly Kellogg on May 18th, 2020 5:01 PMLeave a Comment

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