Appraisers have a tough job that often gets overlooked. They have to make a frank property assessment that may upset the bankers, buyers or sellers involved in a house sale. It creates an atmosphere of distrust before people ever meet their appraiser, so it’s on industry professionals to build strong client relationships.
Here’s how you can connect with clients and earn their trust, even if they approach you with wariness. They’ll work with homeowners who want to price their property before entering the market and buyers who need a final inspection. These strategies will improve your business reviews and bolster your company’s community reputation.
Meet Before the Appraisal
People get rightfully nervous while waiting for an appraiser to pull into their driveway. It’s difficult to watch someone judge your home, especially if they’re a stranger. Appraisers can build strong client relationships by meeting before picking an appraisal date.
Invite clients to meet in your office and get to know them. Once they grow comfortable with you, they’ll feel less intimidated when scheduling your official home visit.
The first meeting establishes the personal connection, so make it unrelated to their home. Keep the conversation neutral and friendly.
Explain the Process
Give them printed materials to bring home. Explain what you’ll look for both inside and outside their house. It becomes less personal if they know what you’re looking for because it makes your visit clinical, not a series of judgments.
Before your arrival, make sure your client understands what an appraisal looks for. They might not realize you have to consider external and internal factors like:
- The landscaping
- The heating and air conditioning unit
- The plumbing
You have to note big and small details that untrained eyes don’t see when estimating a home’s value. Understanding what goes into the final price makes appraisers seem more like team members and less like outsiders.
Clarify What You Don’t Look For
Open communication results in respect. Clarify what you won’t factor into the client’s property value. They might assume you’ll consider the general aesthetic or decorative features like shutters and ceiling fans. Explain why these things don’t count toward the home’s value so they understand there’s more to settling on a final price than their recent home projects.
Show Them Industry Standards
Discussing industry standards is another way to teach clients about the size of the appraisal industry outside your office. You could mention the Appraisal Foundation’s Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) that clients can hold you to. People will trust appraisers more when they learn about the oversight and professional expectations of your team.
The Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) may also help. It’s a 2009 joint integrity agreement that sets higher standards for lenders and appraisers involved in a property sale. Although officials authorized it in New York, the Freddie Mac partnership made it applicable nationwide.
Point out any other certificates or awards you’ve earned. Distrust sometimes stems from clients who don’t think there’s any accountability for appraisers. The industry proves otherwise with standards and organizations that the average consumer isn’t aware of.
Give Them Contact Information
Clients might feel nervous to ask questions after your initial meeting. Share your contact information and give them your business card before they leave. If they have questions before the appraisal, they can ask you about preparation tips.
This is a crucial step because the appraisal won’t always happen soon after meeting. A client might need time to save for it because many buyers don’t realize they have to pay for it. Keeping a copy of your contact information makes you more approachable long after the meeting ends.
Create a Checklist
Buyers and homeowners have so much to remember. It’s an especially overwhelming process if it’s their first time selling or purchasing a house. Creating a general checklist builds strong client relationships because you can go over each requirement and tailor the list to their needs.
Appraisers look for permanent property features and current conditions, but homeowners can prepare for their appraisal with a straightforward guide. Outline steps they should take, such as:
- Cleaning their home
- Improving their landscaping curb appeal
- Making quick fixes, like paint touch-ups
You might also suggest doing projects that boost the home value. For example, replacing flower beds won’t do as much as upgrading the garage door. It’s rarely a project that homeowners consider, but it improves home insulation and energy efficiency while adding significant property value.
Turning their focus toward projects with a great return on investment (ROI) and simple preparation tips makes appraisals easier for everyone. Clients will appreciate their appraiser more when it feels like everyone’s working together toward the same goal — buying or selling the client’s home for the best price.
Provide Optional Sale-Boosting Upgrades
Some property upgrades aren’t required to sell a home because they’re extensive projects. The client might not have the budget for them or enough time. Still, appraisers can mention these sale-boosting upgrades if the client struggled to gain market traction for years and isn’t sure how to improve their prospects.
Other ideas could be installing an in-ground swimming pool, porch or fireplace. After the projects are completed, the homeowners can enjoy them while waiting for buyers to place offers for their new estimated cost.
Follow up With Clients
Follow up with every client after your initial meeting and even after sending their appraisal. You could suggest local contractors for their required projects, like pest control or roof repair teams. It’s a helpful step that takes little time for professionals and means everything to tired or confused clients who don’t know where to go for help.
That client may move out of town and never contact you again, but they could give a great review of your business to their lender. The lender may feel more inclined to suggest your company to future local clients over other appraisers. You’ll get more business opportunities all because of a few simple phone calls.
Start Building Strong Client Relationships
Appraisers can use these tips to build strong client relationships. They focus on people’s needs, the questions they might have and how your team can make the process easier for them. Every effort will result in more professional success and positive reviews from satisfied clients.