The Appraisal Institute has a message for individuals who discover that the house they are trying to sell or buy isn't worth what they thought it was: don't blame us!
‘Appraisers don't set the real estate market; they reflect what's happening in the market,’ says Sara W. Stephens, president of the Appraisal Institute. ‘Think of the appraiser as a mirror, reflecting the market. Obviously, the market is depressed – home prices have fallen far below the values of a few years ago. Many homes simply aren't worth what their owners think they are.’
In a statement issued by the appraisal industry's trade group, Stephens also notes that appraisers' clients are lenders, not buyers or sellers. She adds appraisers are ‘independent, third-party experts’ with no motive for market bias, and that ‘competent and qualified appraisers’ are able to use distressed sales data when determining property value.
‘Qualified, competent appraisers are capable of using their experience and education to determine when and how to use distressed sales as comparables,’ Stephens says. ‘These appraisers know what adjustments to make, if any, when using distressed sales as comparables.’