Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

Pre-Listings and the Appraiser: A Western Tale

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Do you remember that initial spark that drew you to the appraisal profession? Wide-eyed at the vast amount of information to be studied when harnessing the best practices in deriving market value? The coffee flowed through USPAP, we survived statistics relatively unscathed, and 2,500 internship hours later, up a mountain, in a blizzard – you get the point – we emerged as bonafide real estate appraisers. Finally, a chance to make a positive impact by protecting the real estate investments of those in our community.

We quickly learned most people don’t breathe a sigh of relief when we pull into their driveway. There is certainly no scarcity of jokes made at our expense; if an agent just closes their eyes and stays quiet enough, maybe the appraiser won’t chew up their deal.

So, how can we as a profession continue to perform our jobs to the best of our ability while cultivating positive and trusting relationships with those in the industry? We cannot be pressured or coerced into changing or modifying the opinion of value, but we are absolutely a service profession. Ask any agent or homeowner if there was one thing they wish the appraiser could do for them, and they probably would unanimously say: “I wish they could just help me get to closing.”

So, what if that agent knew that ideally, we’d actually like to help them get to closing? Our skills can allow us to be part of an action team that is proactive in planning prior to the lending appraisal. Instead of the “Big bad appraiser who is coming to blow the deal down,” what if they set up a pre-plan or pre-listing with their friendly neighborhood appraiser? What if we were the ones who actually could come and save the day? What if everyone was relieved when we pulled into the driveway?

Think of it this way: When we offer pre-listing appraisals, we are ultimately providing a VIP access pass into The Mind of the Appraiser: Truths and Myths Uncovered before any contract or bank is involved. The real estate industry can be compared to the wild west, and we can be the Lone Ranger— it’s about time the appraiser starred as the hero!

Here’s the scene:

You ride into town, laser (or tape measurer) in hand. Stand down tax assessment. There’s a new precise measurement in town. Our role remains as presenting an unbiased, objective, and impartial opinion of value, while:

  • Delivering an accurate square footage measurement;
  • Helping establish value when a CMA doesn’t pull up much or an agent and seller haven’t agreed on a listing price;
  • Providing the extra security and confidence or even marketing chip for a FSBO;
  • Offering pro-tips on areas of a home that could use a little TLC in order to make the most of value down the road;
  • Mitigating the potential for appraisal repairs, conditions and the ever-present ‘unexpected’ before the closing table.

Ultimately, pre-listings enable us to connect with our private clients in a unique way so they are seen, heard, and valued. These traits tend to be profitable in more ways than one for all those in business.

It’s all in a day’s work for the appraiser as he rides into the sunset.

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Tom Armstrong, MAI

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