The buyer’s appraisal

If the buyer is getting a mortgage loan to buy your home, then the lender will require an appraisal be conducted. Read on for answers to some common questions.

Who orders the appraisal?
The buyer’s mortgage lender orders the appraisal, and the buyer pays for it.

When does the appraisal happen?
It’s generally ordered sometime during the beginning stages of the buyer’s loan application process. The physical appraisal inspection probably will take place after the buyer’s investigations period. The appraiser will contact me for an appointment during weekday daylight hours.

Do I need to attend the appraisal?
No, you will not attend the appraisal. Instead, if the appraiser is a member of the MLS, they’ll have a lockbox key and access the property that way, or I’ll meet the appraiser at your home and walk him/her through the property. In either case, I’ll review comparable sales and if necessary make the case for why we think the purchase price is justified.

Tips for the appraisal:
If you’ve made any home improvements or renovations in the last five or so years, let’s make sure we have those written down so we can make sure the appraiser has them.

The appraiser requires photos of all rooms as well as all sheds and outbuildings. It’s nice if you turn on all your lights, open all doors, and have sheds/outbuildings accessible. This is a time we really want to have the house looking its best to make a great impression!

Secure your pets. Much like a showing and the home inspection, you want to have animals kenneled or taken with you during the appraisal inspection. 

Sometimes appraisers are instructed to take photos of the attic, so have that accessible. They may also need to see the HVAC and water heater.

How long does the appraisal inspection take?
Usually about 30-45 minutes.

How long until we know if the property appraised for the purchase price?
Usually the mortgage lender receives the report about a week after the appraisal inspection appointment. Once the report is written, the lender forwards it to the buyer to let them know whether the property appraised at the purchase price, below the purchase price, or above the purchase price and if any repairs are required to meet the value.

If the property appraised at the purchase price and no repairs are required by the appraiser, nothing further needs to be done and the closing will proceed forward as planned.

What happens if the property appraises for less than the purchase price?
This is a tough position to face. The bank will only loan an amount based on the appraised value. In this case, the buyer will most likely come back to us to renegotiate the purchase price down to the appraisal price. If we say no, the buyer has two options: come up with cash at closing for the difference between the appraisal price and the purchase price or cancel the contract and be refunded their earnest money deposit.

Most buyers can’t or won’t want to pay the difference. For instance, if the purchase price is $200,000, but the appraisal only came in at $175,000 and we will only agree to lower the price to $180,000, then the buyer has to decide if they are going to bring an extra $5,000 on top of the downpayment and closing costs they were already expecting to bring.

What do we do if the appraiser requires repairs to be completed?
Appraiser-required repairs are a must-do in order for the buyer’s loan to be approved. Because this is another (and the last) negotiable step in the contract process, I always advise my seller clients to hold off completing TRR (from the buyer’s home inspection) repairs until we know the appraisal is satisfactory.

You may be able to swing the appraisal repairs but not if you’ve committed to TRR repairs also. TRR repairs are optional. Appraisal repairs are mandatory. 

We’ll be in constant communication during this whole process, so don’t stress over these scenarios unnecessarily!

Questions? Call me at (405) 585-6580 or email

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