The other day I received the dreaded call from the bank appraiser declaring “We are going to be in trouble.” It was the statement no listing agent ever wants to hear and it conjures up a list of questions: What will the seller say? What will the buyer do? Was the appraiser familiar enough with the area to use the very best comparable sales in establishing value and did he or she consider market trends and appreciation? And then there’s the most important one: What can I do to save this deal?
So I did what every wise listing agent should do. I thanked the appraiser for going above and beyond and calling me before sounding the alarms. We entered into a meaningful conversation and discussed the comparable listings the appraiser had chosen for her report. I was able to explain that two of the comps, while indeed on the same street, were actually in a very different area of town. The subject property was on a flat lot in a rural setting while the comparables were in a high traffic retail area. Furthermore, the two comparable properties had steep winding driveways which are notoriously hazardous in winter months. These two factors most certainly affected sellability and, thus, market value. Had the appraiser and I never had our conversation, the appraisal would have been released to the lender and we would have, indeed, been in trouble.
This scenario was hauntingly similar to one a few weeks ago in which the appraiser asked me to justify a contract price because there were insufficient comparables to support it…a harsh reality in today’s market of low inventory. Fortunately, I had my trusty monthly market report in hand and we reviewed the data together.
I was able to illustrate to this appraiser that property values in the subject town had increased 12% since the same time last year and were expected to increase an additional 7% through the end of 2023, 5.5% in 2024 and 3.5% each year through 2026. I went on to say that while I don’t have a crystal ball, I depend on the predictions of the industry experts such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors® to guide my clients. All agree that property values will continue to rise and that the market will continue to favor sellers for the foreseeable future. In the end, the appraiser agreed that the typical “sales comparison approach” was ineffective for this property.
In each of the scenarios above, I was thrilled to have been invited to collaborate with the bank appraisers. Together we determined that each respective contract price aligned with fair market value and both deals were saved.
The real estate market has changed so much in the past few years that business as usual isn’t working. The most diligent professionals are pivoting and working much harder behind the scenes to get to the closing table. While there are never any guarantees, choosing the right team makes all the difference…and keeps you out of trouble.
Boyle lives in Northborough where she is also a Chapter Leader of the Neighbor Brigade, a non-profit charitable organization that assists families in times of crisis. She has been a Real Estate Agent since 2005 and is a member of the distinguished RE/MAX Hall of Fame. Boyle is also a Children’s Miracle Network “Miracle Agent” for her commitment to making a donation to Boston Children’s Hospital on behalf of every home buyer and seller she assists.
Boyle’s mission is to empower her clients to make smarter decisions through data-driven insights and local market knowledge. She invites you to call or email her for the Fall 2023 Home Buyer and/or Seller Guides or for a complimentary market analysis.
Judy Boyle, Realtor®
Proudly serving the Boroughs and beyond with honesty and integrity since 2005