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How to Handle a Low Appraisal: An Interview with Timothy Somers of Davis M. Somers Real Estate Appraisal & Consulting

By Timothy Somers

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Our company was founded in 1966 by Davis Somers, I joined him in 1971. We are members of the Society of Real estate appraisers and later the Appraisal Institute. My Daughter Heather presently is an appraiser with the company. We limit our appraisal territory to only Washtenaw County Michigan to better track markets and trends. We do have a commercial appraiser, Paul Conahan in the company also.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Residential and Commercial Appraisal.

Can you quickly walk our viewers through the appraisal process?

The physical inspection of the appraisal will note the features of the home and condition, as appraisers we are not going to disassemble components to test them. Any positive or negative features of the home will be noted, the interior and exterior of the home are photographed and measurements are checked on the home. A search for sales with in the neighborhood or others that a potential buyer would consider is made. The current underwriting guidelines sometimes restrict areas that can be researched. Adjustments are made to the comparisons for variances in size, location and physical characteristics. Rental properties may have an income approach applied and newer homes may have a cost approach applied, depending upon available data.

What is a "low appraisal" and how does it differ per house/neighborhood etc.?

The value indicated by similar sales does not come up to the anticipated price of the home. There is a difference between price and value.

Why would someone receive a lower appraised value than assumed?

It is likely that the price of the home exceeds the value that can be supported, the buyer may choose to follow through with the transaction if additional down payment is made or the terms o the loan are negotiated. In cases where a broker lists the property they are expected to meet the appraiser and submit any supporting data they have for consideration.

What advice do you have for someone who needs to improve their appraised value?

It is pretty simple. Do you have supporting data that can be verified? Neighbors talking to neighbors is not a reliable source.

Is it beneficial to enlist another appraiser to see if they list your home's value higher?

A better step might be to try to further negotiate the sale.

What are some consequences of receiving a low appraisal?

The buyer may decline the deal, renegotiate or invest more into the down payment. The lower appraisal Will not allow the lender to loan more than certain percentages.

What is the best way for people to reach you or your company?

Telephone is always best! You can reach me at: 734-665-5891.

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