I am one of those brokers who vocally opposes the practice of using appraisers who do not possess local knowledge of the area they work. I have seen too many sales scuttled by robotic, ill-informed appraisals which lack the context that local, more accurate information brings. Out of area appraisers often are less engaged, and are there by economic necessity than local expertise. It is a problem.
So you can imagine my consternation this afternoon when I met an appraiser at one of my listings when he told me that he came from 90 minutes away in Kingston, New York. That is closer to Albany than it is to Ossining.
It was too late for sour grapes, however, so I instead engaged him on the property and what it had under the hood. I had to focus on that, because otherwise I met get emotional. Not because I need the sale. The subdivision was built in 2007 and stood on the former grounds of Briar Crest Nursing home. I worked there the summer of 1986 after freshman year of college, and my father died in hospice care at Briar Crest on July 8, 1993. I can’t drive by the street and not think of him.
But I had no time to get into any of that before Peter, the appraiser, told me “there was a nursing home here, you know.” I knew, I said. And I then learned that Peter’s father was at the very same nursing home before passing away himself in 1991. The conversation of course, took a different direction at that point, and we shook hands in solidarity at losing those who mattered most to us literally yards away from where we now stood. Peter had never appraised a home in this development, but he always watched it. He knew it inside and out because of the obvious significance of where it was and what it meant.
Suffice to say, I have zero doubts about this appraiser’s knowledge of the locale. And I seriously doubt he’ll be robotic on this one. Sometimes these deals occur close to the heart, and you never know when the world will suddenly shrink to the seize of a few village lots.