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Buyer Wants Lower Price to Negotiate Q&A for real estate appraiser

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Buyer Wants Lower Price to Negotiate

Q: " I completed a condo appraisal for a private client. She is buying the unit for cash and I did not even have a copy of the contract. My report came in right at the contract price and this woman is livid. It turns out she expected the appraisal would come in "well below" the contract price so she could use it to negotiate with the seller. Now she is demanding that I take another look and find some lower sales, so she can follow through with her plans. This person was referred to me by a local agent who sends me a lot of business but I want to wash my hands of this right now. I haven’t been paid yet and think I should just walk away. Do you agree?

A: This has been an issue for a while now, and the subject of many state board complaints. The potential buyer agrees to pay listing price, or higher, to get the house, expecting that the appraisal will come in lower and provide them with the power to negotiate the price down. When the appraisal foils their plans, they get very angry.

Remind the buyer that you did not even know the contract price, so your value was truly objective and independent. If she wants an appraisal to use as a hammer with the seller, she might have to look elsewhere. An appraiser is supposed to give an unbiased opinion of value not be used as an advocate for one position or the other in a transaction. I’m sorry you did the work and won’t get paid, but I agree that it is probably best to walk away from this and hope the client will allow you to do so without any problems.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?