Breaking Down The Appraisal Process

Dated: 03/20/2015

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When it comes to buying a house, how much you spend depends on two things: the asking price and the actual value. That’s where an appraiser comes in.  But what exactly does an appraiser do and how will it impact the amount you end up paying?

An appraiser’s job is to determine the current value of a property. Most of the work is done on-site where the appraiser will:

  • Conduct a room-by-room walk-through to determine interior condition.

  • Walk the length of the property to determine exterior condition.

  • Evaluate any amenities such as a swimming pool, finished basement, or built-in bar.

  • Note any health or safety code violations.

  • Record the layout of the property.


After this is completed, the appraiser may also evaluate the current real estate market in the neighborhood to help determine the value of the property.


Who chooses the appraiser?
Typically, your lender will choose an appraiser.  If the appraiser is a member of a professional organization such as the Appraisal Foundation, he or she most likely will adhere to certain ethics codes and rules of conduct.  However, not all states require certification, so you may want to research this before you start.


Who pays for the appraiser?
A loan agreement normally contains a set value for the appraisal of property.  Whoever takes out the loan pays for the appraisal, unless the contract specifies otherwise.  Then the buyer pays the fee in the closing costs.  If sellers are motivated, they may pay for the appraisal themselves to back his asking price, which benefits the buyer by reducing closing costs.


How long does it take?
Appraisals generally take one to two hours and you can expect to receive the report in three to seven business days.  The amount of time it takes can depend on the type of report, size of property, and other factors.

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Ken Blevins

Ken Blevins, Chief Executive Officer of Metrowest Real Estate Services, is a veteran in mortgage and default servicing with more than 23 years of experience in collections, foreclosure/bankruptcy, los....

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