How to Handle an Angry Borrower at a Re-inspection
Angry borrower… please don’t shoot!
We’ve all been there. We do an appraisal inspection and find health and safety issues that must be mentioned in the appraisal. A few weeks later, we receive an engagement letter requesting a re-inspection. The appointment is set and the borrowers confirm that all repairs have been made to a satisfactory level. The appointed time arrives and you drive to the property in question. Before you even get out of your vehicle, you can tell that the health and safety issues have been minimally addressed but certainly not to the level that would allow for passage.
You reluctantly knock on the front door, and it is obvious from the body language that the homeowner is not happy. He starts in with how inconvenient it has been to fix the issues that you addressed in your appraisal, how petty you were to mention them in the first place, and how he hopes that you will see fit to pass it off this time. You glance over your shoulder at the unfinished projects, gulp audibly, and search for the words of a reasonable response.
The above scenario is not hypothetical. It happens to appraisers consistently. Those of us who are VA and FHA approved run into it more often than in typical conventional financing but we all deal with the uncomfortable position illustrated. So, how should we respond when a borrower attacks in typical ‘shoot the messenger’ format?
Though every situation is different, I have come up with a response which typically works to defuse the situation and shift the “blame” from the appraiser (where it never belonged in the first place). When asked why I was so picky on my appraisal inspection report, I simply tell the truth (novel concept, eh?). My tactic is typically to turn them back to the entity which created the standards in the first place. “I understand that this was an inconvenience for you. Lenders these days can be pretty picky when it comes to these types of things. Sometimes I wonder why they are so concerned, but that’s the lending world for ya.”
When asked if I’m going to pass off the work, when it is obvious that I can’t, I’ve learned to avoid answering directly. Unless I want to spend the next three hours trying to calm down an ill-tempered borrower, I instead shift the focus to those who actually make these decisions. My typical response goes something like this, “Well, the lender just wants me to come out and take new pictures and write a quick paragraph on what I’ve seen. In the end, it’s up to them whether or not they decide to fund the loan based on what they see.” This is a simple way to remind the angry borrower who makes the decision to begin with. We didn’t write the rules and regulations. We simply report what we see. In the end, the lender (or the subsidizing entity) makes the final decision on whether or not to accept the loan risks. Again we’re merely the messenger. Please don’t shoot!