Getting Ready for the Appraiser

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An appraiser may be coming to your house in the near future. Most home sale contracts are contingent on the buyer or the buyer’s lender obtaining an appraisal on your property. Here are some things you’ll be interested to know about appraisers and the appraisal process:

Occasionally, the appraiser will be doing an “exterior only” appraisal. In those cases, we usually do not even hear from the appraiser — he just shows up and takes some pictures and makes a few outside measurements. Unless you just happen to be home, the appraisal gets done without either of us knowing that it has occurred.

In most cases, the appraiser needs to get inside your house to perform the appraisal. We’ll let you  know the date and time that the appraiser will be coming to your house. It is best to accommodate whatever time the appraiser requests since we want this task completed as soon as possible. You can be there to let the appraiser in or we will give him the lockbox combination if you are not going to be home. You don’t have to be home during the appraisal but it is perfectly okay for you to be there if you want to be. You may need to be there if you have problem pets or alarms or other issues that make access to your property more complicated. A typical appraiser will spend 20 to 45 minutes at your house.

It is desirable to have the house looking as good as possible for the appraiser — as good as it did while it was on the market, if possible. However, don’t sweat it if your property is in some disarray. Appraisers expect to see houses in a certain amount of chaos. They know that you’re preparing to move.

Appraisal problems are not common. We put a lot of effort into evaluating the market value of your property before we put it on the market and, when necessary, we provide supporting evidence for the appraiser so that your property will be seen in its best light. We always try to be proactive. In spite of this, issues occasionally arise.

If for some reason your property does not appraise for the agreed upon price, the buyer has to make some decisions. The buyer can still buy your place as agreed. Or, he/she can give us a notice indicating that the property did not appraise for the purchase price. The notice must be given no later than the Appraisal Objection Deadline listed in Section 2 of the contract. If notice is given, the contract terminates. Although the contract terminates when a buyer gives the notice, there is nothing to prevent us from trying to renegotiate a new price or reach some other accommodation that is acceptable to you and the buyer. In fact, most buyers will have a discussion with us about any appraisal issues before actually sending a termination notice. If the renegotiation/restructuring is not successful, the earnest money is refunded to the buyer.