Are Appraisers Still Too Conservative?

The good news is home prices are climbing again. The bad news is home prices are climbing again. No one knows this more than a Las Vegas appraiser.

With prices sliding for years, appraisers took an image hit for being too conservative, putting the brakes on real estate deals with appraisal figures often coming in lower than what was agreed upon between a buyer and seller. Banks will only lend up to a percentage of the appraisal figure, which could stall or kill a transaction. For a while, it was common for the seller to cut the price of a home to move a transaction along.

Today, though, fewer homes are on the market, thanks in large part to increased regulation on foreclosure processes. With bidding wars starting again, prices are creeping up. Appraisals are still coming in low. But now, sellers are brushing the low number aside and telling buyers to come up with the difference in cash if they want the house—which isn’t always easy for first-time or lower-income homebuyers.

“There just isn’t enough historical data yet to bring those values in where they [buyer and seller] want them,” Vance Randall, owner of Appraise LV, says.

He says it will take several months of higher prices and willing buyers for appraisals to start inching up again.

Until then, the messenger will continue to be shot.