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Data Dance

In most cases, when we are retained by a lender to do an appraisal we have no idea who the property contact is. We are given a name and a phone humber, but we don’t know if that person is the owner, broker, buyer or seller of the property. Knowing who we are calling would undoubtedly make the process quicker and smoother.

Recently I was given the retail tenant as the property contact for a mixed-use building. Took about a week to find this out, since he had no real interest in returning calls. We were finally able to pin him down for a site visit, only to find out when we got there that he was the tenant, had no idea why we were given his name, and had absolutely no knowledge of upper floor leases and operating history. Not terribly pleasant to deal with either.

Trying to get the property data (i.e. leases, expenses, floor plans, construction costs, etc.) needed for an assignment has become one of its biggest challenges. (This week we were referred to four different people in an attempt to get construction costs for a new development project.) While we do the property data dance, the clock is ticking away.

How’s this for an idea? When the appraiser is engaged for the assignment, the lender makes the data request and the “clock starts ticking” once it’s received by the appraiser. The borrower should be advised by the lender that the closing may be delayed if they are not responsive. This would also alleviate the impression that many borrowers get that the bank’s right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.