Monday, August 15, 2011

Appraising in a fallen housing market

Letter to the Editor, Seattle Times, August 10, 2011

Discrepancy in Article

In response to “The age of appraisal aggravation” [Real Estate, July 31], as a professional appraiser, I wanted to point out a discrepancy in the article.

While many of the people interviewed for the article stated that appraisers have been responsible for providing valuations that do not support sale prices, appraisals completed for mortgage transactions are not technically provided to confirm or support a sales price; they are used to assist lenders in making underwriting decisions.

Credible and realistic value opinions help to stabilize real-estate loans and investments, which promotes socially desirable real-estate development. Appraisers are particularly valuable because they are an objective and unbiased source of real-estate information. Unlike some other real-estate professionals, the appraiser performs a professional service for a fee rather than for a commission contingent on the value conclusion, the approval of a loan or the eventual sale of the property.

One buyer interviewed even stated that the appraisal “protected me from buying a home whose price was grossly overvalued.” It was a shame that this quote was the last line of the article, because while the sale didn’t transpire at this price, the lender (and buyer) learned the market value of the property.

— Justin Slack, president, Appraisers’ Coalition of Washington, Seattle


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