Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Appraisers Need to Stay in Their Market Areas!

Appraisers Need to Stay in Their Market Areas!

Austin is looking at changing their MLS program, and they've asked the membership for help in the decision. There are 3 programs we're looking at.  I attended the meeting on Monday to go through the overview of the systems.  The meeting was open to anyone who is a member. 

The gentleman in front of me was asking question after question about a system to share data in the different MLSs in the state, which was not what we were there to talk about.  At one of the breaks, I find out that he's an appraiser.  There's this program called Data Co-op that is used in many areas where MLSs overlap, like New York. In Austin, we have our main system.  NW of Austin about 1 1/2 hours, there is a different system, and then San Marcos, about 45 minutes south of Austin has it's own system before you get to San Antonio with its own system.

real estate house appraisalThese areas are very distinct areas so I would not consider the Austin MLS having an overlap of systems.  This Appraiser started talking about how it's so expensive to join all the different boards in order to have access to all the data he needs for his appraisals, and wouldn't it be great if the Texas systems would participate in the Data Co-op like other areas?  (Most systems do participate, they just don't share the data with other systems)

All of a sudden, it clicked what he was really talking about...

I said, "No offense, but I want my appraisers to be local. I'm sick and tired of appraisers in one area thinking they can do an appraisal in another area that they're not from.  It's people like you that are causing problems on many transactions because you're not familiar with the areas."

I told him about an appraiser coming up from San Antonio to do an appraisal north of Austin. I told him about an appraiser that I accidentally got black-listed from a lender because I asked him about his CA area code and how long he had been in the Austin area, and he threw a temper tantrum.  This appraiser agrees that my concerns were valid.

This appraiser doesn't admit that he's doing anything wrong, however he does tell me to continue to report appraisers that I feel aren't doing good jobs.  How could he think my concerns are valid, but continue to do what he's doing?  The Data Co-op system isn't supposed to be used for people to do their job outside of their market. Why don't appraisers understand that real estate is local, and it's not possible to know everything about every neighborhood in a 200 mile radius? I'm licensed in the entire state of Texas, but I don't go sell houses in Abilene or Corpus or any other area I'm not familiar with. It's a disservice to the clients.

Appraisers, don't bid the job just because you're free that day. Bid the job because you're capable!


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donna harris Realtor Austin TX blog

Donna Harris, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Austin Skyline

Austin TX Real Estate and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, CedarPark, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Hill Country Austin TX Real Estate and beyond. Whether you're buying or selling an Austin home, I'll be with you every step of the way. 

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Appraisers Need to Stay in Their Market Areas! * was first published on


Comment balloon 12 commentsDonna Harris • March 07 2012 11:00AM


Donna - I am definitely with you on this one!  Texas is a BIG state and I don't want an appraiser from any area other than my own doing an appraisal on one of my listings!   Suggest.

Posted by Pam Miller, Broker Associate - Water Crest on Lake Conroe (Realty Associates) almost 9 years ago

Right on Donna.  I see this a lot where I am too, appraisers coming out of the bay area to appraise properties here in the Central Valley.   Two VERY different markets. 

Posted by Jim Patton, Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties ( Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816) almost 9 years ago

You are so right Donna, appraisers out of the area do struggle with not being capable.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 9 years ago

And I'd like them to do their jobs also...we had a closing held up because they didn't properly indicate that the utilities were on. sheesh

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) almost 9 years ago

Hi Donna - Right on point! We've had so many problems here because of out-of-market appraisers not having a clue about what makes our local real estate market tick. It would be ridiculous to do a CMA for a market I didn't know, and apprasers should have the same kind of standards. It's another side of areas of competence.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) almost 9 years ago

The discussion of local appraisers has been huge in California.  When I get an appraiser, I want that person to come within 10 miles of the town where the appraisal is being done.  I'd prefer even less.  Any more and the won't "get it" when looking at the market and comps.

Posted by Bryan Robertson almost 9 years ago

I have issues with this as well. I just had an appraiser come out to inspect one of my short sales that Chase sent. It was a full appraisal not a BPO. The home needs about $50K worth of work and he put in $5,000. Didn't use comps that reflected similarities to my listing and didn't inspect the crawl space which turns out is infested with powder post beetles and there is structural damage.

I told my negotiator that Chase didn't get their money's worth with this appraiser and they don't care.

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) almost 9 years ago

Pam, I know a great appraiser in Dallas. You don't want him down there?

Jim, Makes sense.

Gary, ANd it's not a struggle buyers should be in the middle of.

Karen, Ridiculous!

Dick, No Code of Ethics for them, though.

Bryan, We couldn't hold people to a 10 mile radius around here as everything is so spread out, but I understand you're point.

Jackie, $50k v $5? Did he have his glasses on?

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 9 years ago

AMEN to all you said!! I have the same issue here... all areas are NOT alike!

Posted by Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC, Selling the Upstate since 1989 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner) almost 9 years ago

Donna, actually appraisers do have a Code of Ethics. All appraisals for federally-insured transactions (anything that's financed, essentially) must adhere to USPAP, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. USPAP includes both an Ethics Rule and a Competency Rule.

Sadly, some appraisers don't comply with the rules. Even more sadly, the lenders that hire them don't seem to care.

But then again, I can say the same for quite a few Realtors. What about the part time Realtors? What's that all about? Or the Realtors that take listings all over a five county area, take their pictures out of the window of a moving car, and can't seem to return a phone call?

I think the standards need to be raised in both professions. I applaud you for reporting bad appraisers...I do the same and it doesn't make me very popular!

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) almost 9 years ago

Good post Donna.  Southern California has a large 100,000+ agent MLS Data Share that was sold by the brokerages and appraisers to cut costs.  What exactly happens on the local level?  Well first the professionals that live and work there loose 25-30% of their business.  Second, the clients get contacted by every agent within hundreds of miles to list their short sales the minute it goes on to the default list. Last, most of the out of area agents garner lower prices for their sellers (this is proven in the statistics) and will never do another transaction in that area and could care less about their reputation in the local community.  Real Estate is LOCAL for agents and appraisers.  If you can't or won't pay for entry in the LOCAL MLS then perhaps you can't or shouldn't be working in that area.

Posted by CJ Johnson, Sales Consultant - Build On Your Lot @ DWH (David Weekley Homes ) almost 9 years ago

Competency Rule?  I doubt most appraisers have read it... And Southern CA sounds like a trip.


Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 9 years ago