I ALWAYS make it a point to meet an appraiser at any listing of mine. Contrary to popular belief, this is not "illegal", the agent is meeting the appraiser to ensure that the local micro market trends are known. Giving the appraiser appropriate closed and pending sales to ensure a complete understand of the micro market is fine. Ensuring that the appraiser knows all of the features of the home and community is fine - and important. This is not "influencing" anything, this is educating an often rookie appraiser that may not be local.
Purchase appraisals and "separate" appraisals are black and white. Purchase appraisals are written for underwriters and are defensive in nature - no appraiser is putting their arse out there and none want call backs. "Regular" appraisals provide more latitude, differences can be significant when you're not working to fit inside a idiotically small underwriter check box. "Flags" that an underwriter look for are not present when writing for a private client.
Lenders almost never change opinions once appraisals are submitted - which makes listing agents being out there critical to success. But....since there are many meathead agents out here, that doesn't always happen.
Give Lee a call, he knows the area better than anyone. I would submit that this listing agent should be released...but that's just me. http://hankmillerteam.com/category/appraisals-valuation/ that link might provide some help
How big is the gap?
I own and reside in a Decatur townhouse. I've seen hundreds of them in my career.
We have a decent amount of comps for those - we have an array of 1970's, 1980, and 1990's townhouse builds, all over the city.
We have plenty of "luxury" brownstones, walk ups, city homes, townhouses and even a few patio homes inside the city limits of Decatur. Plenty of 2000-2008 builds.
I wrote two articles about "greater Decatur" that are worth reading:
30033 has some luxury townhouse product - otherwise it's 30030, and the city limits that govern where to find "luxury" values.
If his version of luxury is in one of the other 3 Decatur zip codes then good luck compiling a "luxury" CMA.
Hank Miller, a fellow Trulia Voice is the guy I always count on for an opinion about appraisals - statewide. If you need a BS detector, hire him.
Otherwise, I think that the buyer's lender is one of those that does not have a very good screening system - a way of limiting choices of who can appraise in what county system - system.
Many lenders, nowadays, seem to be back to hiring GA licensed appraiser folks from 8 counties away, who are occasionally screwing up our hyper-local values...