Time for an Appraisal

August 24, 2015

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So the market is telling your home is worth X but you're concerns the appraiser will come in and ruin your party by valuing it as Y (well below X)? What is the point of these appraisals anyway?

 

Remember, you needn’t agree with the outcome of an appraisal. You and your agent can work with the figures and determine if you should change the sale price. A home appraisal—no matter how scientific—is still an opinion that can be questioned.

 

An appraisal provides sellers and buyers with a “fair market value” and also allows a lender to know how much they can safely lend. It will provide a comparison of your house to comparable properties in the neighborhood. A home appraisal can range in length from two pages to more than 100 and can include:

  • Details about the house.

  • Description of the neighborhood.

  • Side-by-side comparisons.

  • Evaluation of the area’s real estate market.

  • Notations of major problems with the property that will affect its value.

  • Estimate of the expected time to sell the property.

Here are some tips for both sellers and buyers seeking to ensure their transactions are completed in a timely manner:

  • Make sure the lender hires a qualified appraiser (such as a designated SRA, SRPA or MAI member of the Appraisal Institute). The lowest-priced appraiser does not necessarily equate with the most qualified.

  • Accompany the appraiser during the inspection of the property, if possible. The more active you are, the more you will understand it and be able to catch any errors.

  • Request a copy of the appraisal report from the lender. Federal law requires that you receive a copy of the appraisal within 30 days.

  • Appeal the appraisal, if appropriate. Market conditions do change, especially in these economic times. If you feel that new information may affect the appraisal, be sure to speak up.

  • Have your agent ask the lender to order a second appraisal by a qualified and designated appraiser.

  • File any legitimate complaints with appropriate state board or professional appraisal organizations.

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