In reaction to the sub-prime meltdown, recent lending rules have established large, blind pools of appraisers. In theory, a random, arms-length relationship sounds like a great way to eliminate fraud. Unfortunately, we real estate professionals are finding that this arms-length security may come at the expense of local knowledge and expertise.
I definitely warn my sellers that they may have to deal with a poor appraisal. I have fought one appraisal successfully, but the time required forced us to delay the closing. A bad appraisal might also force a buyer to put more money down. Some buyers might walk away from the sale entirely, forcing the seller to re-list the house. Ouch!
The work around? In some cases, it might be best to hire a good appraiser before the house goes on the market.