Homeowners are often concerned about the appraisal process, especially first time buyers, for good reason. A home purchase is typically the largest purchase most of us make. Understanding the appraisal process, and some steps you can take to aid the appraiser and appraisal process, can alleviate some of the anxiety.
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An appraisal is an opinion of value developed in accordance with state and federal guidelines. Don’t let the word opinion mislead you. It is an opinion that must be supported by credible and verifiable market data and analysis. To develop an opinion of value an appraiser must gather as much information regarding the subject property as possible, and federally regulated mortgage transactions will require a visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the property. For a purchase transaction the appraiser is typically retained by the lender’s appraisal management team or a third party appraisal management company. This is the entity that communicates with the appraiser, sets turn times and fees, and completes an initial review of the appraisal.
Most appraisers are given 3-5 business days to complete an appraisal, and have no control over the report once submitted to the client. If you have questions regarding the appraisal, send them to your lender, who will pass them along to the management company and appraiser as required. The appraiser may not legally discuss the value of your property with any one but the person or entity that retained his services, so don’t be surprised if your appraiser doesn’t discuss value with you.
Providing the appraiser with additional information about your property can help him expedite your report, providing for a faster and more accurate appraisal. Take few minutes to look around your house. See any minor items that could be a safety issue? Take care of them before the appraiser arrives!