Correct Appraisal for Piedmont Home

Asked by Sophie94611, Piedmont, CA Fri Jun 5, 2009

I live in Piedmont and wanted to refinance my mortgage. The loan company sent out an appraiser who used comps ONLY in Oakland because he could not find anything similar in Piedmont. Needless to say my home came in very low and I may not get the loan. How do I convince the loan company this is NOT correct?

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David Kendall, , Berkeley, CA
Fri Jun 5, 2009

The new Home Valuation Code of Conduct came into effect last month. This code restricts lenders from having direct interaction with appraisers and means the lender or the mortgage broker cannot choose the appraiser. Instead, appraisals are now ordered through intermediary agencies and I am hearing frequent reports of poorly qualified / out of town appraisers being assigned.

You can find out more about the Home Valuation Code of Conduct here...

You may want to discuss the situation with the loan consultant you are working with on the refinance. They may be able to ask the underwriter to obtain a "Field Review" of the appraisal. A Field Review is a review and a second opinion of the appraisal from a different appraiser.

It's also worth getting comps from a local Realtor. The appraiser who does the field review may be receptive to you showing him/her relevant comps, however you should approach this with some sensitivity since appraisers are supposed to choose the comps themselves.

Good luck in your refinance!
1 vote
Oakster, , Oakland, CA
Tue Aug 11, 2009
Honestly, Joe's answer is a bit bizarre. Any good appraiser should be limiting comps to the same city---my house is in Sophie's zip code, for instance, but it's in Oakland, so I would fully expect it to appraise at a fraction of her value. Because guess what? I paid a fraction of what she paid, and I don't have access to the same schools, parks, and services. You can bet no bank would refinance an Oakland home in 94611 based on a series of comps from Piedmont; the same should be true in reverse. This isn't a matter of maps; it's a matter of basic competence on the appraiser's part, since Piedmont is certainly not the only city where school quality drives housing cost.

This is an old post so I imagine it's long since been resolved, but the solution is, unfortunately, to start the process over again with a new lender and new appraiser and hope for better luck.
0 votes
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Fri Jun 5, 2009
First, did you choose a lender with a local presence? And does that appraiser have local knowledge of the area?

Out of town lenders using out of town appraisers are always problematic because the nuances of location are lost on them.

Unfortunately, no matter how many comparable properties you can come up with, the lender will use only that appraiser's report. You may be better off changing lenders. Also note that the loan officer and agents may not speak with the appraiser since that may be interpreted as trying to influence the outcome of the appraisal. i have yet to find an appraisal that was changed based on other people's input.

I've seen at least three appraiser reports on the same property, and they never reach the same conclusion, even when it came to square foot measurement. And another time, I personally changed lenders when one lender's appraiser produced an appraisal that was to me, so obviously erroneous. The second lender and their appraiser delivered.

So my advice is: You may want to seek another lender with experience and knowledge of your market, and whose appraisal department is well versed as well.

Good luck!
0 votes
Kathleen Cal…, , 94602
Fri Jun 5, 2009
I grew up in Piedmont, live in Piedmont, and have been a broker here for almost thirty years. Please call me at 510-604-5728 so that I can try to find appropriate comps for your house.
0 votes
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