Updated: Sep 16, 2020
What is an Appraisal?
The appraisal is a report regarding the value of your property, which is prepared by a licensed appraiser on behalf of the buyer's lender. The appraiser is an impartial third party who determines the market value of the property based on recent comparable home sales in the area. The appraisal is part of the lender's due diligence before they commit to lending the money to the buyer; the lender is protecting their future investment by verifying that the value of the home is sufficient collateral, in the event of a future foreclosure if the buyer fails to meet their loan obligations.
Who Pays for the Appraisal?
The buyer is responsible for paying for the appraisal, which is usually ordered by the lender upon the conclusion of the inspection negotiations. Because the buyer paid for the appraisal and owns the report, they typically will not share it with the seller. Occasionally, buyers will allow the sellers access to the report for a fee.
The appraisal will be scheduled and you will be given advance notification regarding the date/time of the appraisal. As with property showings, it's expected that you remove yourself and your pets from the home for the duration of the appraisal.
Preparing for the Appraisal
The appraiser will make a quick visit to the property to take measurements and inspect the condition and layout of the home. Depending on the type of loan being pursued by the buyer, the appraiser will be investigating a number of items at the home, and it could include an inspection of the attic and crawl space. Make sure that these access hatches remain easily accessible for the appraiser.
If any parts of your property are typically locked (for example storage sheds or outbuildings), please leave a key or access code for the appraiser (along with a note) or simply unlock the spaces prior to the appraisal.
All utilities must be on and functional for the appraisal, including electricity, gas and water.
If you haven't done it yet, please be sure that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are installed as required by Oregon law. Also make sure that the water heater has two earthquake straps installed. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but it's important.
The appraiser has the final say on the valuation of your house, so it's still important to make sure the appraiser has a good first impression of the home when they're visiting. Try to make sure that the house is sparkling clean and tidy for the appraisal.
On the day of the appraisal, the appraiser will access the house using the key in my lockbox. You should be away from the property during the appraisal.
In my experience, it seems to take 3-7 days for an appraiser to finalize their report after visiting the property. The lender will set a due date for the appraisal based on the date that the job is accepted by an appraiser. I'll notify you of the result as soon as it's made available to me.
We will receive a confirmation from the lender or the buyer's agent that the "house appraised at value" or that the valuation came in below the contractual sales price. The appraiser will also identify any conditions that need to be satisfied before the lender will issue a loan on the property. Examples of appraisal conditions might include:
installation of Smoke Detectors or Carbon Monoxide Alarms
installation of earthquake straps on water heaters
clean-up/repairs to chipping paint (for certain loan types)
If any conditions arise during the appraisal, these must be remedied prior to closing and the appraiser will typically need to come back to the house for verification of repairs. This can cause delays in the closing timeline, so it's best to remedy these issues before they become conditions (in other words, before the appraiser ever visits the property). If repairs are needed, they will be subject to further negotiation with you and the buyer regarding who is responsible for these repairs. If an agreement can't be reached, this means that the house won't qualify for financing and the buyer would be entitled to a full refund of their earnest money. It's best to make a concerted effort to remedy these appraiser conditions quickly so as to keep the sale moving forward towards closing.