June 1, 2020



Igniting Your Personal Momentum

Recording of the session this morning's Mindful Monday session

May the Support Be With You

Recording from today's incredible Part 1 of our Support Series: The Features, Benefits & Real World Impact of our Business Support Team


The running theme was clear -- no matter which region the agents are in, they all love their Support Specialists! Here are a couple quotes they shared during the call

Meet Your Team of Business Support Specialists!

Click on your office name below to meet your team.

Support Team_ Atkinson
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Support Team_ Augusta
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Support Team_ Auburn
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Support Team_ Bangor
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Support Team_ Bedford
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Support Team_ Belfast
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Support Team_ Brattleboro
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Support Team_ Brunswick
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Support Team_ Concord
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Support Team_ Dover
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Support Team_ Durham
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Support Team_ Ellsworth
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Support Team_ Exeter
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Support Team_ Gorham
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Support Team_ Hampton
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Support Team_ Hanover
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Support Team_ Hollis
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Support Team_ Keene
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Support Team_ Londonderry
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Support Team_ Machias
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Support Team_ Naples
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Support Team_ Nashua
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Support Team_ Peterborough
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Support Team_ Quechee
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Support Team_ Rockland
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Support Team_ Sanford
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Support Team_ Tilton
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Support Team_ Wells
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Support Team_ Windham
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Support Team_ York
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Q&A from the Appraisers

As promised, Mark McCauley from CMG Financial has provided us with answers to the questions we did not get to during the Appraiser Panel presentation last week:



How has the pandemic affected VA appraisals?

  • The Pandemic hasn’t really effected VA appraisals or any appraisals so far, if an exterior report is done this can sometimes effect due to the appraiser not knowing about upgrades and such . (especially if done without permits). There is special wording that all appraisers are adding to the reports but no one really knows how if any effect on housing will come of it. I will say that VA appraisers are slower than normal and that has had a bit of an effect as some were not accepting orders due to the Pandemic so needed to be reassigned.


I had a new construction that was listed at $339,000. The lender's appraiser, valued the property at $320,000. The seller/contractor decided to have it appraised to see why were might have been off on the list price. The upgrades in discussion costs of construction did not seem to be taken into consideration. That appraisal came in at $339,000. Is there any recourse or adjustment when something like this occurs?

  • This happens often and although not all upgrades are dollar for dollar in value, we are always willing to submit change orders to our appraisers to make sure they were accounting for those in their reports. Some upgrades are a big part of the value/grid because it is reflective of quality and condition which are big value items. We are always willing to not only send change orders but also send additional comps for consideration if we have some that might be better and not considered.

So how much value for finished basement? $500 - $5,000 - based on square footage or ?

  • You will get differing opinions from appraisers regarding the contributory value of finished basements. Variables include walk-out vs. walk-up basements. Daylight basement finish is very likely more valuable than areas that only have small rectangular basement windows. The other major contributing factor is the quality of finish. On the low end there is basement finish that is very inexpensively done or is old and not in good condition. While it has some contributory value, you might see something like $5.00psf for an adjustment. On the other extreme I have seen walk-out finished basements that are of similar quality to the 1st and 2nd levels of living area. Sometimes these areas have amenities such as bathrooms or kitchenettes. I have adjusted $50psf and higher for spaces like this in high end homes. For most homes, though, I believe you would find most appraisers adjusting in the range from $10 to $20psf. If there is a bathroom, there would likely be an additional adjustment, perhaps in the range of $5,000 to $8,000 (depending on quality and condition). It is best to find at least one comparable sale with basement finish that is similar to that of the subject, requiring little or no adjustment. If you are able to do this, it will take any question of the adjustments you’ve made to the other comparable sales.

If properties are very similar except for condition, how do you determine what the adjustment is for appraisal or CMA?

  • I have heard 5 to 10% of sales price but sales price is what we are trying to determine. Adjustments for condition and quality of a home are very difficult. Appraisers review online photos of comparable sales and may interview the listing broker regarding these items. Because appraiser’s are attempting to react to a property the same way a prospective purchaser would, the cost to equalize the properties comes into play. If there is something about a comparable sale that is superior or inferior to the subject, we do our best to estimate what it would cost to bring the comp up or down to the level of the subject. Over time appraisers develop a general sense of improvement costs. I think it is fair to say that a prospective purchaser would approach the issue the same way. I don’t think in terms of percentages as much as relating the adjustments to estimated costs. That said, I know that some appraisers consider quality and condition in the same general way, but do make adjustments on a percentage basis. Another important point is that the adjustments should reflect the market reaction to an issue, and not only the cost. As an example, if a subject property needs a lot of work and has not been updated in years, prospective purchasers may estimate the cost to bring the subject up to the level of current market acceptance, but may also account for the time and inconvenience associated with the process. In that case, the adjustments may be larger than the cost to cure. It is always best to seek at least 1 comparable sale that is in similar condition/quality to the subject to take the issue of adjustment amounts out of the equation.

How important is the MLS listing information to the appraiser?

  • MLS information provided by the real estate agents are very important, this data is reviewed and verified by the appraiser, its context is the first biases to analysis a particular information to be possibly utilized as a comparable sale in a appraisal report. The accuracy in the information can assist the appraiser in valuation of a residential property. The more reliable the information in a MLS sheet the more consistent and accurate the data is to be utilized in an appraisal report to determine a viable estimated of market value.

What’s involved in a field review?

  • Field Review reports are utilized by the secondary mortgage market and lenders to determine the validity and accuracy of the context of an appraisal report to determine the appraisal report and value are supportable and meet Uniform Appraisal Practice Standards. Field Reviews are complex, the review appraiser does a thorough analysis of the comp sales, market trends and subject information, etc. If the original appraisal report and/or estimated market value is not inline with current market trends and values the reviewer has the ability to determine there own current market value analysis under Uniform Appraisal Practice Guidelines. This could result in a different market value as alternant comps and/or market adjustments can be made by the reviewer. The field review report can provided the lender and/or secondary market with additional information to determine financial lending determinations.

Upcoming Learning Sessions


Home Study CE courses available through the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate

Credits available for both ME and NH. Click here for more info.

Photo courtesy of Diane Jenkins

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