How to fix appraisal problems

Common Appraisal Problems And How To Fix Them

In Appraisal, Fixing by Jo Garner0 Comments

Have you ever had an appraisal cause havoc with your real estate transaction? Our appraisal expert appraiser, Tom King will be talking about some common appraisal problems and how to fix them.  Tom will be giving you some tips and the proper steps to take to appeal your appraisal. As the mortgage expert, I will give you some workarounds to those problems when it affects your mortgage loan.

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To Your Success,

Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer NMLS# 757308  (901) 482-0354



Good morning, Memphis!  Welcome to our internet listeners and podcast listeners across the 50 states! You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer.  You can connect with me at  Thank you to Joe Rojas of Quality Title Group in Memphis for sponsoring our show today. For your real estate closings in Tennessee and Mississippi, contact Joe Rojas at (901) 289-5821.   Our general topic is COMMON REAL ESTATE APPRAISAL PROBLEMS AND HOW TO FIX THEM.

 If you have a question or comment while we are live, text me at (901) 482-0354  or call me directly off the show at the same number (901) 482-0354.  You can call us while we are live in the studio at  (901) 535-9732 Today is  June 24th, 2017.


Have you ever had an appraisal cause havoc with your real estate transaction? Our appraisal expert appraiser, Tom King will be talking about some common appraisal problems and how to fix them.  Tom will be giving you some tips and the proper steps to take to appeal your appraisal. As the mortgage expert, I will give you some workarounds to those problems when it affects your mortgage loan.


Tom, it’s always fun having you sitting at the coffee table. 

Tom has been in the appraisal business in the Memphis area for over 40 years.  He knows more than a thing or two about the trends and values of neighborhoods in the Mid-South. Tom, most of our regular listeners know who you are, but for our new listeners, tell them a little bit about yourself and what you do as an appraiser. 


(Jo) Yesterday I did something kind of fun.  I called twenty realtors that work in different parts of the Mid-South area and even one agent in the Nashville area to find out what kind of appraisal snafus they have been experiencing.  In most areas including Crittenden County Arkansas, the biggest problem is a growing demand of homebuyers but a shortage of homes on the market for them to buy.  The old rule of supply and demand is driving prices up.  

The deal is good for the buyers because they can lock in very low fixed rate mortgages and enjoy low house notes for as long as they have the house.  The deal is good for the sellers because some houses sell the same day they are put on the market.   In really competitive markets, sellers are getting multiple offers on their homes. Some buyers are offering $2,000 or $10,000 more for the house than the listed price.  

Appraisers are coming in closer to the original listed price of the house instead of the higher prices offered by buyers.   Some realtors say that it seems like the market it moving up so fast that it does not give appraisers time to get the higher comparable sales on the record books before prices are going up again.  Some agents have been able to appeal, though, and get closer to the price they need. Tom, from your expert point of view, how is the best way to appeal an appraisal and stay within the government regulations?


Tom explains about the fire wall between mortgage companies and appraisers.   Government regulation requires mortgage companies to use an approved system or approved appraisal ordering agency to assign the appraiser to a transaction from like spinning the dial.  This method prevents collusion among appraisers and mortgage professionals.  Mortgage officers cannot debate the value directly with the appraiser anymore.


Tom talks about how to appeal an appraisal.  Realtors and homeowners can supply data to the appraiser on comparable sales that have closed recently in the area that are very similar to the subject property .  Tom suggested that, if you are trying to decide which comparable sales to send  to the appraiser to support a higher value, make sure the square footage of the homes are within 100 to 200 square feet of the size of the home being appraised.

Realtors can click in MAAR Data for Dollar for Square Foot.  You can locate some sales to use by looking in this direction.  But make sure the amenities and size etc are the same on the comparable sales homes and your subject home.  You may be able to go over a mile away in some situations but normally you stay in the same neighborhood.

Tom suggested that, if you are writing a letter to the appraisal, pretend you are writing a letter to your boss asking for a raise. Don’t use angry, belittling words when addressing an appraiser.  Be courteous and submit your request for the appraiser to use better comparable sales or other data.  Supply the data in the letter.

If your appraisal is through the mortgage company, allow the mortgage company to scan your letter and supporting data directly to the mortgage officer handling your mortgage file.  The mortgage officer can send it through the proper channels with the government approved appraisal ordering company.


(Jo) There appears to be somewhat of a perfect storm that is making the real estate market hot right now.   Mortgage rates are around the lowest they have been all year. Beware of next week though!  Some of the economic data coming out could cause the price of mortgage rates to move up.  If you don’t like risk—you should probably lock your rate.  Right now the 30 year conventional rates are around 3.875% to 4.25% depending several factors. The 15 year fixed rate ended the day around the low mid 3’s.

Other news is that Fannie Mae is coming out with some new guidelines that will make it easier for some stronger borrowers to qualify for mortgages even if their income-to-debt ratios are higher than the standard 45%.  New guidelines are easing the way for aspiring homebuyers with student loan debt. Millennials are the hope of the housing market some of the experts are pointing out.

Let’s put your mortgage scenario into my calculator.  You might find buying a house is much less expensive than renting. You might be able to consolidate some high interest rate debt into one low fixed rate mortgage and STILL be able to pay your mortgage off early.   Call me at (901) 482-0354 or email at But you have to talk with me personally to work with me personally.  I WANT to work with you!  

When we come back from break, Tom is going to describe some appraisal situations that can cause people trouble.  But Tom knows how some of these problems can be fixed.  


2nd segment after 9:15 break: Our Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest is brought to you  by notable Memphis historian, Jimmy Ogle. Jimmy Ogle offers free historic walking tours downtown in the spring and fall.  For information about Jimmy Ogle, go to .  The Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest is  sponsored by John and Jennifer Lawhon of Lawhon Landscape (901) 754-7474 the Lawhon’s can help you plan your landscaping if you have a BIG, BIG project or a smaller project . The Lawhons are giving away a $25 gift card to the first person with the correct trivia answer.  If you know the answer to our trivia question, call us at 901 535 WREC 901 535-9732.



  • How can someone effectively appeal a real estate appraisal?

A homeowner or realtor can appeal a mortgage appraisal, but they must submit their data and their arguments through the mortgage officer. The mortgage officer forwards the appeal letter and the supporting data to the third party agency who then delivers it to the appraiser.  

The homeowner is allowed to talk with the appraiser directly.   The realtors are allowed to meet with the appraiser at the house. Realtors and homeowners can give the appraiser data on recent sales in the neighborhood.  They can give the appraiser supporting documentation of any recent improvements or information about the house that could affect the value the appraiser gives on the appraisal. Include the address, the sales date, sales price and any other details you have available.

If you are providing comparable sale information to the appraiser, make sure the square footage of the comparable sales are not more than 10% to 20% higher or lower than the square footage on the subject property.  Make sure the amenities are about the same.   If the comparable sale has a full sized gunnite pool and the subject property doesn’t have a pool, the house with the pool is probably not a good comparable sale to use.

  • What is the difference between a home appraisal and a home inspection?

The home inspection is not required on mortgage transaction.  Home inspections are recommended though.  Inspectors look at the details in the house.  They check the wiring the plumbing and electrical and HVAC systems, roof condition and more.

Appraisals are mandatory for mortgage financing.  Appraisers are there to primarily determine the current value  of the home. Appraisers measure the home and use standard guidelines to come up with the official value for the home.  Appraisers will mention obvious items needing repaired or replaced.  

  • What can sellers do to avoid appraisal issues?

Investors who buy a home at an extreme discount, do renovations and repairs need to provide the appraiser with copies of invoices and perhaps some before and after pictures.  Documenting the improvements gives the appraiser reasons to give a higher value even though the investor may be selling the home shortly after purchasing it at a low price.  

Homeowners who want to avoid appraisal issues can do that by simply making the obvious repairs and doing basic refurbishing before the appraisal comes out to visit the property.

  • What can realtors do to avoid appraisal issues?
  • What can buyers do to avoid appraisal issues?
  • How can lenders and buyers and sellers protect themselves from an appraiser who is geographically incompetent?

Jo relayed a story from a realtor who had been working with a different mortgage company on a home sale where the appraisal came in really low.  As it turns out, the appraiser was from over 75 miles away and living in a different state.   

Tom gives two things you need to do upfront once the appraisal is ordered and before the appraiser makes a trip out to the house.  Go to the Tennessee (or your state) Department of Commerce and Insurance. Do a license search. Look up that appraiser’s name. It will show where the appraiser lives and works.

Call your real estate agent and have them check to make sure the appraiser is a member of the local real estate Multiple Listing Service to make sure the appraiser can research the number of days a property has been on the market etc.

If the appraiser lives over 50 to 75 miles away he/she may not be familiar with the local market to the subject property.  You can legally request that the appraisal be reassigned to an appraiser who is more familiar with the local market.  

If the appraiser is not a member, and does not have access to the local Multiple Listing Service, he/she does not have the necessary data needed to complete an accurate appraisal.   The homeowner, realtor or lender can legally request the appraisal be reassigned to a different appraiser.   However, if you are going to request a reassignment of the appraisal to a different person, you must make the request before the appraiser goes to the house.

Important note:  If your realtor is not checking out the appraiser before he or she arrives at your home, YOU need to be proactive and do the follow up.  Once the appraiser has already come out to your home, it is too late to ask for a different appraiser when a mortgage is involved.

  • Share a recent story of an appraisal that had issues but got worked out. How did it get worked out?

Tom King



  • How do most mortgage companies handle repair issues on appraisals?

A common trend we are seeing in the mortgage offices is when the buyer and seller sign the contract. The lender takes off running to process the mortgage. The home inspector comes out before the appraisal is done and makes a list of items that need repair in the home.  The buyer stops the process suddenly a second phase of negotiation ensues when the buyer tries to negotiate with the seller to pay for some of the items on the home inspection.   The loan process can get delayed depending on how long it takes the buyer and seller to come to an agreement.

A good realtor can recognize some of the more obvious repair issues when they see the house. The best time to negotiate who will pay for the known repairs is when the initial contract is being signed.

The mortgage company I work with is connected with a bank and they keep their loans for awhile and service some of them.   Because of that position as a mortgage banker and not a mortgage broker, most of my loans with repair issues can be worked out fairly easily.

If the repairs mentioned on the appraisal or in the home purchase contract are structural in nature and not just cosmetic, in most cases, the repairs will need to be done before closing by the buyer or the seller. Sometimes the seller gets a professional to come out and fix the problems and allow him to pay at closing when he gets his money. Sometimes the buyer pays and sometimes the buyer and seller split the costs of structural repairs so the loan can close.

If the repairs are cosmetic, most lenders will allow these to be done after closing if necessary.  Mortgage companies that hold some of their loans and service them, will allow even structural repairs to be completed after closing if the costs for the repair is not too high and the borrower has enough funds left in the bank to cover it.   This decision is made by the lender’s underwriting department.  I am a mortgage banker and not a broker—so I can help you with this situation.

If parts or windows have to be ordered, do it several weeks before closing.  I have had at least two real estate transactions where the seller waiting until a week and a half before closing to start installing the new custom windows only to find out that it would take over 2 weeks for the windows to be delivered from the manufacturer.   

My client had already put her notice in with the apartments where she had been living only to find out she could not close on her home until the windows were installed. She was starting to panic because she had to be out of her apartment. Since her loan was approved subject only to that one repair being done, the seller’s allowed her to go ahead and move in because the house was vacant.  Sometimes sellers cannot move out until they get the money from the sale of the house.  I have more solutions to this situation but call me directly and I can share them with you.

  • How do most mortgage companies work with their mortgage customers and their realtors when the appraisal comes in lower than the sales price?

I did a survey yesterday and called 20 realtors in the Memphis area and in the general Southeastern United States. The MOST common problem they are having is with appraisal values coming in low due to how buyers are offering more than the sales price, in some cases, just to beat out a competing offer on the same house.  

The short supply of homes on the market and the high demand of buyers are pushing home prices upward at a fast pace.  Sometimes the pace of rising prices is too fast for appraisers to find current, valid comparable sales for the area before the price on the house rises again.

Pam Beall, a realtor with Crye-Leike sells a lot of condos in downtown Memphis.  She was working with a client who had a deadline on when they needed to close on a condo.  In the middle of the loan process, the appraiser came back on the condo with a surprisingly low value that could have killed the entire real estate deal.

You have to know Pam.  She is really nice to everyone.   She invited the appraiser to come do a tour of the condominium project.  When he saw the valuable amenities in the condo project and those close by, he was able to justify raising the value on the condo he was appraising.

Sometimes when an appraisal value comes in for less than the sales price, the lender uses the lower of the price of the appraisal value to calculate the loan-to-value on the loan. Sometimes the buyer will pay the extra money to make up the difference in the price and value. Sometimes the seller comes down on the price to the appraised value. Sometimes buyer and seller meet in the middle.

If the buyer and seller cannot agree on what to do, as a mortgage officer, I will generally contact the realtor and see if they can provide better comparable sales on houses that more closely resemble our subject home. We go over the appraisal to make sure there are no errors on the measurements of the house and check other data for accuracy.   Missing the measurement on a room or missing a bathroom can have a negative effect on the appraisal value.

Jo Garner



Tom King shares a tip for realtor.  Make sure the appraiser assigned to your transaction is a member  of the Multiple Listing Service.  Check with your State Department of Commerce and Insurance under licenses data base to determine where the appraiser lives and works.  If the appraisal is not living and working within less than 50 miles away, he may be geographically incompetent to do the appraisal. Request a reassignment BEFORE the appraiser goes out to the house.



  • Talk Shoppe offers free networking & education to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk Shoppe meets every Wednesday 9A-10A CT at Nova Copy Conference Center 7251 Appling Farms Parkway Memphis  This Wednesday June 28th, 2017  join other business people for the Mastermind Principle based on the book Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.   
  • Talk Shoppe events are free thanks to advertisers like Dr. Dale and Lee Ann Foster of NeuroSource recently featured on Channel 5 News in Memphis for their success with veterans suffering from the effects of PTSD. Dr. Dale and Lee Ann Foster help their patients retrain their brain without prescription drugs to overcome Anxiety, ADHD, brain injury, memory struggles.  (901) 624-0100.
  • Thank you also to Mary Jane Lessley of Signs Now of Memphis at 4945 American Way Ste 8 Memphis, TN 38118 (901) 368-1415. Vehicle wraps, banners, and other signage directing your customers to you.
  • Thank you to Joe Rojas of Quality Title Pros in Tennessee and Mississippi (901) 289-5821
  • Thank you to the following realtors who returned out calls to give us information on what they are experiencing in their market with appraisals. Thank you!


Pam Beall, Crye-Leike Realtors Memphis TN  901 647-2101

Mike Ford, Coldwell Banker Heritage Homes   Crittenden County Arkansas 901 409-0342

Princess Parker, Crye-Leike Memphis TN 901 238-1566

Allen Brasfield, Keller Williams Hardiman County TN  901 652-8619

Wendy Quinn, Crye-Leike Realtors Memphis, TN 901 335-1808

Whit Pulliam, Realtor   (Nashville, TN area) 901 461-9050

Pat Goldstein, Crye-Leike Realtors Memphis, TN 901 606-2000

Bill Stewart, Re/Max Real Estate Experts 901 351-2355

Rita Hallum, Crye-Leike Realtors Memphis, TN (901) 277-6356





Peggy Lau, Independent Representative with World Ventures.  (901) 289-0747  Peggy can show you how to earn first-class vacations by just buying everyday products and services that you are going to buy anyway.   You can find Peggy at Talk Shoppe on Wednesdays.

Sally Baker, with The Source. (901) 258-4775  Sally is the expert organizer of homes, offices, cars and more.

Marx Sterbcow, Sterbcow Lawfirm, New Orleans, LA



Tom King

Tom is a well- respected and sought after appraiser in Memphis, Tennessee.  He is a second generation appraiser with 40 years of experience.  He has been elected to the Memphis Area Association of Realtors Board of Directors three times.  

Tom is a certified residential appraiser in Tennessee.  He have appraised over 20,000 homes in his career.  A graduate from the University of Tennessee with a degree in real estate, Tom is also a Certified Relocation Professional (CRP).  Tom also has vast experience in dealing with the county and state boards of equalization and in valuations of property for tax appeal purposes. (901) 487-6989


About Jo Garner

cell: (901) 482 0354


  Twitter: @jogarner

Jo describes her job description: As a mortgage loan officer, my job is to give my client the benefits they want from their financing terms– listening to my client and determine what’s of the most value to THEM–  What is their comfort level on a house payment, how much are they comfortable paying down, what type of financing do they need to get the house they want to buy or refinance. Different clients have different priorities in life—some are buying their first home with very little down payment funds.  Some are recovering from medical challenges, divorces or preparing to send children to college and some are embarking on a long term goal of buying properties to build rental income. Whatever their personal priorities are, my job is to put together a mortgage with comfortable terms that will help them achieve their goals.”

Jo Garner is a mortgage officer with extensive knowledge in tailoring mortgages to her customers who are refinancing or purchasing homes all over the country.  She offers conventional, FHA, VA or other loan programs for refinancing and purchases.  

Jo can help you look at rent vs buy, when it makes sense to refinance, how to get the best deal on your home  purchase financing.   

Jo Garner  has been in the real estate/financing business for over 20 years.  She got her start in Portland, Maine where she first began her real estate career. She received her real estate education from the University of Southern Maine  and was personally mentored in San Diego, California  by Robert G. Allen, author of Nothing Down, Creating Wealth and The Challenge. 

On moving back to West Tennessee in 1987, she went into business buying and selling discounted owner-financed notes secured on real estate.  In 1990 Jo went to work for a residential mortgage company and has been a mortgage loan officer for over 20 years.  Her goal is to offer excellent, affordable service to her customers, tailoring the loan programs to the specific needs of her clients.  

In addition to her work in the mortgage field, Jo Garner  is the primary sponsor and founder of Talk Shoppe in Memphis.  Jo is host of Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe  and currently publishes on her blog

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