As a New Jersey property appraiser, you know that you have to work fast and efficiently earn a decent living in this industry. But being in a hurry can mean losing opportunities to obtain vital information about a property—information that might not be readily observable. When you visit a property, do you quickly look around, say almost nothing to the real estate agent or owner, and leave quickly? Then it’s time you slowed down and start interacting with the agent or owner. This is a strategy you probably didn’t learn in appraisal school, but it is absolutely important.
Speaking with the agent or the homeowner is critical to the success of your real estate appraisal services. They might know things that you will never find out all by yourself, such as when the furnace was last serviced, timelines of remodeling projects and upgrades (as well costs), selling features of the home, and many more. When you take time to interact, you will gain valuable information and insight that you have no way of identifying on a regular walk-through inspection. The intelligence you gather may ultimately alter the outcome of your appraisal.
You can also take advantage of the inspection to earn the respect and trust of the agent or homeowner. Make sure that you come off as professional, knowledgeable, and courteous. Getting to know the homeowner during the inspection process is a great way to reduce the possibility that he or she will complain about your service or second guess your conclusion. This is especially crucial during times when your value opinion is not what the homeowner wants, hopes for, or expects.
Here’s another thing you probably didn’t learn in appraisal school: Look past the mess. Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, you might value a cluttered home a little lower. It’s human nature. Keep in mind that some homeowners simply don’t have time to dust and mop for your arrival. It’s no doubt much easier to appraise a neat and organized home, but as a professional New Jersey property appraiser, you have to learn to look past the chaos.
We also have this final tip: Ask the homeowner or agent to send you a list of major improvements done on the property ahead of your visit. They might want to include information on the condition of the HVAC systems, the roof, and all major appliances. Ask for original permits for DIY projects.