What does an appraiser do, and how do you do it?
We provide an independent, impartial assessment of the value of a property. The vast majority of residential appraisals are done as direct comparisons. We look at the best comparable properties in terms of size, amenities, and location to determine our number.
Is it hard to do your job in a market like this, when houses are selling way above their previous sale price?
It means more research. My job is to determine fair market value, not confirm that purchaser’s offer. I’ll ask the seller’s agent what renovations they’ve done and the number of offers they received. I’ll try and figure out if the seller paid under value when he or she bought it originally. Usually I’ll go visit the property to make sure the square footage is measured correctly.
Appraisers don’t look at condos, do they?
Sure, all the time. I look at individual units, not the building per se. For comparisons I prefer to stay in the same building, since amenities and maintenance fees can be wildly different.
What if your assessment is way below the offered price?
The buyer’s interest rate will go up, or they may not even get the financing they need. In this heated market, agents are pushing people to go in with firm offers, instead of making them conditional on financing. If the deal doesn’t close, is the agent going to come up with the extra money?