Appraisals and Appraised Value

home appraisal

An “appraisal” is a comprehensive report that determines the value of your property based on a number of valuation factors, ranging from gross living space, to the view and the year a property was built.

If you plan on purchasing a new home or refinancing your current loan, you will most likely need to order an appraisal. Typically, a bank or mortgage broker will handle this for you, but you will still have to foot the bill unless it’s built into your mortgage rate.

Appraisal Costs

Appraisals typically cost anywhere from $250 to $750, with most falling somewhere in between $300 and $600. The cost will vary based on property type, location, and square footage.

Multi-unit properties and properties in rural areas will usually cost more to be appraised than a single-family residence in a densely populated area.

Additionally, a condo appraisal will generally cost the same as a home appraisal, despite the former often being much smaller. This could be because appraisers must still assess the entire building/complex, which can be time consuming.

If the property is a multi-million dollar home, your appraisal could cost over $1,000, and if the loan amount is in the multi-million dollar range, you may also be on the hook for a second appraisal.

How Is My Home Appraised?

The most common type of appraisal is the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report, or URAR. It consists of interior and exterior photos, comparison sales (comps), and a complete cost breakdown of the property. This type of appraisal is a blend of both a market and cost approach.

The cost approach establishes value by determining what the cost would be to rebuild the structure from the ground up. The value approach determines value using comparison sales in the immediate area that have sold within a recent period of time.

When the appraiser arrives at your home, they will take both interior and exterior photos of the property and jot down lots of notes as they move from room to room. The whole process may take an hour or less. They will also take photos of nearby properties in the neighborhood that are being used in the report.

These other properties are comparison sales, or “comps” as their known in industry speak, which are recent sales of like homes. They are broken down in the appraisal report as well, and compared to the subject property side-by-side.

Each comparison sale is given or deducted value in a number of categories based on how it stacks up against the subject property. The net value of the comparison sales are then averaged to come up with a median appraised value for the subject property.

Are Mortgage Appraisals Accurate?

This is where arguments start because a lot of times the real estate agent and/or mortgage broker will disagree with the comps used in the appraisal, especially if the property doesn’t appraise at value.

They’ll claim that they should have used X property (a higher valued one) instead of the cheaper ones in the report. But the independent appraiser is the one in charge, not the interested party trying to get a sale.

The same type of thing may happen when a borrower is refinancing a mortgage and hoping to get a favorable value. If it falls short, the homeowner may argue the appraiser’s decision. Of course, it will likely fall on deaf ears.

Ultimately, you will be at the mercy of the appraiser’s valuation analysis, which can certainly range depending on the comps they use.

Whether that’s accurate or not is debatable, but what is likely is that different appraisers will come up with different values. It’s doubtful that two appraisers would come up with the exact same price. However, they’ll likely be fairly similar to one another, and ideally not material to the outcome of the loan.

The value of the subject property is one of the most important factors when it comes to securing financing. Banks and mortgage lenders need to ensure your property is in good condition, and truly worth what you or your broker say it’s worth because it’s the collateral for the loan.

Any possible valuation inconsistencies will likely cause investors to shy away from purchasing the mortgage, leaving the bank or lender with a vacant property and a major loss if the property declines in value.

Even Donald Trump could agree to buy a shack and fail to obtain a mortgage because the property itself simply isn’t marketable.

Do Homes Sell for Their Appraised Value?

The answer is that it depends. It’s entirely possible for a home to sell at its exact appraised value, but appraisals are typically ordered by the bank after a buyer and seller agree to a certain purchase price.

What generally happens is the appraiser affirms the value found in the purchase contract.

Sometimes they’ll assign a slightly higher value, and other times they won’t be able to find a value to substantiate the sales price. This can happen if the buyer offered a lot more than asking to beat out other bidders.

It’s not to say they paid too much, it’s just that the other comparable properties sold for significantly less.

In that case, the buyer and seller may need to go back to the drawing board in order to resolve the valuation inconsistency.

What If the Appraisal Is Lower Than the Purchase Price?

One issue that happens pretty frequently is the appraised value coming in lower than the agreed upon purchase price. This is a common problem because buyers will often overpay for a property, either because of a bidding war or because of an emotional attachment. Whether it’s truly overpaying is a question for another day.

For example, if you agree to buy a home for $200,000, and apply for a loan with 20% down, you’d need a loan amount of $160,000 and a $40,000 down payment. That equates to a loan-to-value ratio of 80%, which is simply $160k divided by $200k.

Now imagine the lender comes back and tells you that the property only appraised for $190,000. Your $160,000 loan amount based on the new $190,000 value would push the LTV to ~84%. And yes, lenders use the lower of the sales price or the current appraised value.

They don’t care what you’re willing to pay for it. They care what an independent appraiser says it’s worth in case they foreclose on you and wind up with it one day.

Anyway, this is a problem because your loan would now require private mortgage insurance because the LTV exceeds 80%, and that’s if the lender can even offer you a loan above 80% LTV. Often they can’t.

The solution would be to either ask for a review of the appraisal, renegotiate the purchase price (lower) with the seller, or put more money down, assuming you have extra cash on hand. Of course, you might wonder if you’re overpaying for the property if it doesn’t come in “at value.”

Using our same example, if you decided to move forward with the full purchase price and wanted to keep your loan at 80% LTV, you’d only be able to get a $152,000 loan. That means you’d need to come up with $48,000 for the down payment, as opposed to the original $40,000.

You could try to get the seller to lower the sales price too, but that might be a losing endeavor in a hot market. However, if there’s not a lot of interest in the property, you might be able to get somewhere using this approach.

Appraised Value Higher Than the Purchase Price?

The opposite could also happen, though it won’t amount to much more than a slight ego boost, and perhaps some additional equity.

If your appraisal comes in higher than the purchase price, give yourself a pat on the back and breathe out. You’ve cleared one major hurdle in the mortgage process.

However, your lender isn’t going to let you borrow more because of it. Remember, they’ll use the lower of the sales price or appraised value.

So really, nothing changes. You just might feel a little better knowing the property actually appraised.

The terms of your loan should remain the same.

Be Present When Your Home Is Appraised

If you already own your property and are getting it appraised for a refinance, it can be helpful to be there on the day. If it’s a purchase, the current owners likely won’t invite you over.

Anyway, once the lender schedules the appraisal date, make plans to be there to help show the appraiser around the property. You’ll likely need to let them inside.

I also recommend cleaning up the property to ensure it looks its best, and also being courteous and friendly with the appraiser.

Sure, some may argue that it shouldn’t make a difference if you’ve tidied up around the house, or whether you offer the appraiser a glass of water or a coffee. But for me, it never hurts to be kind.

Besides, a home that is clean and uncluttered can feel bigger and more expensive, and that might be just enough to get a borderline value to where it needs to be.

The Appraisal Review

Once an appraisal is ordered, if there are valuation issues the bank or lender may order a review of the appraisal. The review will be conducted by another appraiser or simply by the use of an AVM, or Automated Valuation Model. This is where many borrowers get into trouble.

If the review comes in low, or if the property is deemed incomplete, hazardous, or unique in any way, a bank may decline the loan and deny financing to the potential borrower. Even if the borrower has outstanding credit and assets galore, a faulty, unique, or overvalued property can kill the deal.

That’s why it’s always important to use a qualified appraiser who assigns a realistic value to your home so there aren’t any surprises when it’s do-or-die time. It’s better to know the true value of your home upfront before you sign any contingencies or purchase contracts. And remember that the quality of your appraisal will determine the quality of your review (unless it’s automated).

The review appraiser will always find the value based on what’s given to them. If they receive a poor appraisal report, they will likely assign a poor value. I’ve seen brokers submit multiple appraisals and receive completely different values based solely on the original appraisal itself.

As of January 26th, 2015, Fannie Mae let lenders use a proprietary tool called “Collateral Underwriter,” which provides an automated appraisal risk assessment complete with a risk score, risk flags (potential overvaluation), and messages to the submitting lender that warrant further review.

CU works by leveraging an extensive database of property records, market data, and analytical models to analyze appraisals for quality control and risk management purposes.

In the future, lenders may be granted waiver of representations and warranties on value so they can lend more freely, at least when it comes to questionable property values.

[Soon you may be able to buy a house without an appraisal.]

How Long Is an Appraisal Good For?

Wondering how long an appraisal is good for? It’s a tricky answer because most appraisals aren’t portable, meaning if you get one, you can’t take it to another lender anyway.

So first you have to consider whether you’ll be using your old appraisal with the same lender that ordered it. If you are, you might be able to use it within a 12-month period, but chances are the lender will need to update it if it’s been longer than four months.

By update, I mean reinspect the exterior of the property and determine if the property value has declined since it was originally appraised. Banks need to ensure they’re not giving you an old, higher value.

A situation where you could use an old appraisal would be if you were thinking about refinancing with a certain bank, then pulled out for one reason or another. Then a few months later, decided to go through with it again. But as noted, it would need to be with the same lender.

Also consider that the value might be higher, and you wouldn’t get to take advantage of that if you reused your old appraisal.

For FHA loans, there is a 120-day validity period for appraisals, which can be extended for another 30 days if certain conditions are met. If an appraisal update is performed before the original appraisal expires, it can be good for as long as 240 days.

For VA loans, the validity period is typically six months and appraisals expire once the loan transaction has closed. This means you can’t use the same appraisal for a purchase and a subsequent refinance, even if it’s within a six-month period.

The takeaway is that most of the time you can’t use an old appraisal, so don’t bank on it. Just try to close your loan the first time around.

Although an appraisal is irreplaceable, you can do some quick research on your own by using a free internet house values tool that generates a quasi-property appraisal in a matter of seconds by simply typing in the home address.

Read more: How accurate is a Zestimate?


  1. John Gonzalez November 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm -

    I have a home I am trying to keep after my divorce. My wife does not want to be part owner and so I have to buy her out. I am a retired vet so my home is under a VA loan. The only way for me to keep the home is by buying her equity out, but I was wondering what kind of appraisal should I use to convince her and her lawyer that I am being fair. After I find out the fair market value I would need to figure out how much I need to pay her and then apply for a loan. So that I can give her payment in one lump sum. Problem is I am not sure if I can afford another loan. The other option is to sell and not make enough equity to find another decent place to live.

  2. Colin Robertson November 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm -


    You may want to speak with some VA lenders to see if you qualify for a loan with the necessary amount of cash out to pay off your wife. Assuming you can get a loan, they’ll order an appraisal to determine the value of your property.

  3. Shoshanna Hollenbeck January 5, 2015 at 3:03 pm -

    Hi Colin,
    My husband and I are applying for a HELOC from Wells Fargo. They sent out an appraiser who took pix inside, outside, front & back yards, and neighborhood homes, as well as turned in comparable comp costs for our home. The house was valued at $137,000 above what we owe. Taking 80% of that, we were approved to get our loan PENDING another appraisal, however. My banker, who can’t answer my question as to why we need another appraisal, says that Wells Fargo told him our appraisal was a realtor’s appraisal and not a banker’s appraisal on our home, but there wouldn’t be any difference in the photos and comps in the area. I’m wondering why they’re asking for a second appraisal. BTW: Both appraisers are working for Wells Fargo. I haven’t hired an appraiser for this. We’re only asking for $40K too, so I’m very suspicious as to what more Wells Fargo is looking for. Could you please tell me what you think? Does this sound odd to you?
    Thanks so much,
    Shoshanna Hollenbeck

  4. Colin Robertson January 5, 2015 at 9:01 pm -


    It’s not uncommon for a bank to get a second opinion, but it’s usually when the appraisal comes in low and the client pleads to “find the value” via a second appraisal. The issue also comes up when a property hasn’t been owned very long and is quickly valued substantially higher than the most recent purchase price. Perhaps Wells is being cautious about the valuation in asking for a second one? Ideally it comes in at the value you need the second time around and it just amounts to a short delay. But I hope they’re not trying to charge you for two appraisals. Good luck!

  5. Michael Gaborick January 13, 2015 at 10:13 am -

    My fiancé and I are trying to get a Home Equity loan thru Bank of America. The branch manager said the bank can send out their own people for appraisal. But in following up with BofA customer service they tell me its against Federal law for the bank to do their own appraisal. Thus the bank has to use a third party and they are not allowed to phone the 3rd party with questions. They cited Federal regulation “RESPA”. Is this all bunk? What is the real truth?

    Thank you.

    Michael Gaborick

  6. Colin Robertson January 13, 2015 at 10:48 am -


    By “own people” they probably just mean the third party that they’re contracted to work with, which isn’t “them” but an independent appraisal company working on behalf of BofA for the purpose of valuing your home. Hopefully it comes in at the value you want/need.

  7. Susan January 27, 2015 at 5:26 pm -

    If we purchase a home for $540,000 and finance only $300k, does it still have to appraise out at full purchase price to get a traditional 30 yr mortgage?

  8. Colin Robertson January 27, 2015 at 7:58 pm -


    Lenders use the lower of the sales price or the current appraised value to determine the property value. So if the appraisal comes in lower than $540,000, the loan-to-value (LTV) will be based on that amount. For example, if the appraisal comes in at the right value, $300k/$540k is around ~56% LTV.

    If the appraisal comes in low, at say $500,000, the LTV would rise to 60% (300k/500k). Since you’re putting so much money down this probably won’t have any adverse effect on your loan. But if someone was only putting down 5-20%, it could potentially require an increased down payment to fit within certain LTV constraints. Or they could try to renegotiate a lower purchase price of the home.

    As far as loan program, you can get a 30-year loan regardless of the home’s value as long as you get approved for the loan and they offer 30-year loans.

  9. Ruth Reyes February 3, 2015 at 11:21 pm -

    Hi Colin,
    I am currently having a problem with a lender regarding an appraisal. When we first applied for a mortgage we applied with BofA and had the appraisal done by landsafe. Well things didn’t go as promised with bofa so we tried another lender recommended by our agent. Well this lender is telling us that the appraisal done by bofa can’t be used because it doesn’t have the new lenders name on it. We are buying a FHA home. And landsafe says that they can’t change the name. Is this common?

  10. Colin Robertson February 4, 2015 at 12:24 pm -

    Hi Ruth,

    Generally the second lender can accept the original appraisal if requested by the borrower, per HUD Mortgagee Letter 2009-29, though there are some exceptions. Take a look and if there’s a reason why it can’t be transferred.

  11. Ruth Reyes February 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm -

    Thank you so much! This cleared up a lot of questions.

  12. Conny M. March 11, 2015 at 8:21 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I recently purchased a home in the Sacramento area and am hoping you can provide some advice. I am not a very experienced buyer and trusted my realtor to help me through the process. She did not. To make a long story short, I purchased a house using Wells Fargo and a loan officer my realtor recommended. Wells Fargo ordered an appraisal through RELS, which I understand is a subsidiary of Wells Fargo. The appraisal came in at the purchase price $447,000.

    A few weeks after close of escrow, interest rates dropped dramatically. I went back to Wells Fargo to refinance to a lower rate and shorter terms. They declined and I went with another lender. That lender ordered another appraisal which was completed 1 month after the purchase and came in almost $40,000 below purchase price. I researched and spoke with a few appraisers and it very much looked like the first appraiser made multiple mistakes. He did not use comps that were close to the subject property (even though they were available) and went out 1.5 miles for comps on 3/6 comps because they showed higher sales prices. My house only has 2 bedrooms (and a den) yet that was not taken into account in the appraisal. My house has some minor updates (some counters and floors but everything else is original and 20 years old) but was compared with other houses where everything was updated, again without taking this into account in the appraisal. The list goes on.

    I am not even sure where to start – everyone profited from this transaction….the realtor (Lyons Real Estate), the bank (Wells Fargo)…while I just lost $40K of my savings. Any advice you can provide would be much appreciated.
    thank you!

  13. Colin Robertson March 12, 2015 at 10:54 am -


    Home purchase appraisals tend to come in at around the purchase price unless something is seriously off. Appraisers generally attempt to justify that price, which you apparently agreed was a fair price since you made an offer at that price and wanted the home. It’s one of those hindsight type of things. Had you received a favorable appraisal after the fact, you wouldn’t question your older or smaller home. And had interest rates risen, you would be extremely happy with your current interest rate. I’m sure it’s frustrating, but you probably shouldn’t look at it like a $40k loss since you aren’t trying to sell the home at the moment I take it?

  14. Conny M. March 12, 2015 at 8:35 pm -

    Hi Colin,
    thanks for answering my question! That is a loaded question but after all the experiences I have had going through this real estate transaction, dealing with a seller who requested renting back the property and now is refusing to pay me rent and the real estate agency acting like they had no involvement…. if I could, I would probably try to get out of this house sooner rather than later.

  15. dana March 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm -

    Hi Colin,
    I have an FHA loan, my broker suggested a re-fi to a conventional to stop the MIP and take out some equity. I got the appraisal done and we were funding that day when the underwriter sent more demands. At the last minute broker decided to switch to an FHA re-fi. The SAME underwriter, SAME finance company now 26 days later is asking for ANOTHER appraisal- and another $175 to cover it… LAST minute- is this reasonable?

  16. Colin Robertson March 23, 2015 at 5:25 pm -


    My guess is that you didn’t qualify for a conventional loan for some reason? Did they explain why? You can always attempt to negotiate those fees, especially if they delayed your closing and made you change loan programs (assuming it was their fault).

  17. Jenny April 7, 2015 at 6:33 am -

    We live in a home my father owns and we pay for. The appraisal value is 195K. The original loan four years ago was for 179 and we put down 36k. We can buy the home from my father for about 130K. Will we still need a down payment? We are eligible for a VA loan.

  18. Colin Robertson April 7, 2015 at 1:23 pm -


    Probably best to contact some VA lenders to see what your entitlement can offer you.

  19. joe April 8, 2015 at 2:57 pm -

    Had a new home i purchased appraised. appraisal came out ok BUT…year built was wrong..appraised at 2 years older than it really is. should i have it changed and will appraised price be adjusted being house is 2 years newer? home is built 2004 thank you kindly

  20. Colin Robertson April 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm -


    Generally home buyers/sellers only care about the appraisal coming in at value (you said “ok” which probably means it did) to get the deal closed. And they usually only contest the value if it hinders their deal in some way.

  21. Susan April 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm -

    Chase pre-approved me and my husband for a conventional mortgage and issued a commitment letter as well. Some of our income was non conventional, which Chase knew from the start, but they didn’t decline until some Schedule A items on the commitment letter could not be met. A local credit union is now offering financing. But Chase will not assign the appraisal we already paid for. Is that standard procedure? Do I have any course of appeal?

  22. Daphne April 10, 2015 at 5:49 am -

    We just meet with a realtor to discuss listing our home. The comparables that she brought us were horrible. Our home appraised at $297,000 in 2009 and she wants us to list it now for $180,000. That seems ridiculous to us, since our home is immaculate and was the model home for the neighborhood. Is it normal for a homes value to decline by $117,000 over the years? We have put over $20,000 towards improvements since 2009. What gives?

  23. Colin Robertson April 11, 2015 at 9:21 am -

    Hi Daphne,

    I wouldn’t say it’s normal, but it’s not uncommon given what happened a few years ago. In fact, lots of homeowners are several hundred thousand dollars underwater as a result of the huge price swings. If you disagree with her assessment, you can visit Zillow or Redfin and search for recent similar sales in your neighborhood and point them out to her. Good luck.

  24. Colin Robertson April 11, 2015 at 10:07 am -


    It’s common practice. Appraisals for a conventional loan may be portable but only if both the original lender and new lender agree to it.

  25. Tracy Schmitz April 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm -


    I’m refinancing my home after a divorce. My lender ordered an appraisal that came in15k lower than what I paid for the home in 2008. After reviewing the report, I realized the appraiser forgot to add the square footage in for my 5th bedroom. (He measured it and had the pics). The square footage he listed in the report was 2,630 and the actual is closer to 2,900 sq ft. He determined the price per sq ft to be $112. I pointed the calculation error out to the lender and asked to have the appraisal updated reflecting the actual sq ft and valuation. The lender came back to me and said the appraiser refused to correct the error (I don’t know this to be true or false) and the lender ordered a new appraisal with a diff company. A week later, the new appraiser came back with the correct sq ft (2,900) and an IDENTICAL TO THE PENNY valuation, which dropped my price per sq ft to $101. All sales in my neighborhood over the past six months range from $112 – $132 per sq ft. I know that isn’t the only consideration, but my home has more amenities than most of the other homes. The second appraiser also refused to adjust his appraisal. Bottom line: the lender is requiring me to pay PMI since two appraisers came up with the same value. 1) why would an appraiser refuse to correct a blatant material error? Why would the second appraiser value the home the same as the first using completely different criteria? 3) AND make my home 10-25% less per sq feet than all the neighboring homes? Note: this is a newer neighborhood with all homes having relatively the same amenities. Sq ft range from 2,300-3,000 approx and ages 1-7 years old. Something isn’t right and I don’t know who to turn to in order to get a fair appraisal on my home–the lender refuses anything but the second appraisal.

  26. Colin Robertson April 30, 2015 at 9:10 am -

    Hi Tracy,

    I can’t tell you what’s going on in the appraiser’s head, maybe they had that valuation but just input the square footage wrong, so the corrected value was unchanged. Options include challenging their valuation, which it sounds like you already did, shopping with a different lender and being subject to more appraisal fees that may or may not come in at value, or bringing in more of your own money to reduce the LTV.

  27. Ruth May 4, 2015 at 5:40 pm -

    we are refinancing our rental property through Wells Fargo. They made us get an appraisal but are now asking us to sign a form attesting that we waive the right to an appraisal but it was already done at their insistence!!! Seems shady to me and when I questioned it I was told ” it’s just a form that needs to be signed”. Why would they do this?

  28. Colin Robertson May 5, 2015 at 3:27 pm -


    The waiver relates to you receiving the appraisal by a certain date, possibly because it may interfere with loan closing.

    Check out: 1002.14 Rules on providing appraisals and other valuations. Or ask Wells to explain in detail what you’re waiving.

  29. Tracie May 13, 2015 at 10:50 am -

    If your appraisal comes in lower than anticipated/expected, can you legally request a second appraisal, or value shop? My lender is telling me no, it’s illegal.

  30. Colin Robertson May 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm -


    The Appraiser Independence Requirements (AIR) prohibit lenders from ordering a second appraisal if attempting to influence the outcome of the first appraisal or for the purpose of value shopping. That’s probably what they mean.

  31. Tracie May 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm -

    Colin, thank you for your prompt response, appreciated.

  32. Goran Gustavsson May 17, 2015 at 4:18 pm -


    My wife and I just purchased a house a couple of months ago. The house was a short sale and resulted in a good deal on the house. We paid $575,000 while houses with similar square footage, age and upgrades are going for $700,000 +. The appraised value came in right at $575,000. While the deal did go through we are paying PMI as we put down only 15%. Is there anyway to seek a reappraisal? If so how should we go about it? It would be nice to not be paying the PMI each month and it seems that it should appraise for more given the comps, tax records etc.


  33. Colin Robertson May 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm -


    Generally the loan has to be seasoned (aka a couple years old) before the existing servicer will consider a new, higher value. Alternatively there’s the option of refinancing the loan at the new, higher value, although that involves costs and potential restrictions. In any case, both options require that higher value to come through to get the LTV down to 80% or less.

  34. jennifer hawkins May 21, 2015 at 8:46 pm -

    I came into a hardship and was thirty days from foreclosure. I owed $10,8954.86 so I asked a friend if he wanted to pay it off and move in. He agreed. We wrote a contract and he paid the above amount. Now that my credit is high enough I want the property back. what can I do to obtain this goal?

  35. Colin Robertson May 23, 2015 at 8:02 am -


    That’s between you and your friend, depending on the terms of your contract with each other.

  36. JoAnn May 27, 2015 at 10:38 pm -

    My husband and I are trying to refinance. My husband pulled apart my daughter’s bathroom to redo and ordered a shower. The appraiser came during the renovation and demanded the bathroom be completed before he would sign off on the appraisal, even though the materials were not in. My husband put the bathroom back together, however, didn’t put the connection to the p trap under the sink in, but did hook up the water, because he has to rip everything out again to do it the way we want. The appraiser is still refusing to sign off on the appraisal. Every time he returns to take another picture, it costs us more money. His bill just went from $400 to now $700. Is this allowable and can’t he just devalue the property for the bathroom. By the way, it’s 1 of 4 bathrooms that are in the house.

  37. Colin Robertson May 28, 2015 at 11:41 am -


    Unfortunately lenders often want major home repairs completed before they will fund a loan, which is why it’s best not to do renovations while trying to get a loan.

  38. Nichole Knight May 29, 2015 at 6:16 am -

    I hired two different Apprasiers for an apprasial on the same house, one came in at 195,000 and the other came in at 190,000 why is that??

  39. Colin Robertson May 29, 2015 at 9:13 am -


    Appraisals can vary because individuals determine the value of a property and sometimes do so using different data. For example, different comps may have been used. You can compare the two appraisals side by side to determine why each came up with a different value.

  40. Brenda June 3, 2015 at 7:51 am -

    I’m selling my house in a gated “neighborhood” that surrounds a small lake. The appraisal is being questioned by the buyer’s underwriters because the appraiser used comps (unsure how many) based on lakeside neighborhoods five miles down the road but in the next county. Due to the poor market in the past few years, I’m the first property of my square footage in my neighborhood to go on the market in a couple of years and there are no similar lakeside neighborhoods in this county. The buyer wants a closing extension (I’ve already agreed to one). There’s no guarantee they won’t ask for an additional extension but I can’t afford for this to go on indefinitely as I’ve moved out (the original closing date was 6/1) and I can’t rent/buy until this deal is done. Any insight?

  41. Colin Robertson June 3, 2015 at 3:55 pm -


    It’s always tough to get a good appraisal when the subject property has few nearby comps. Hopefully everyone will agree to a value based on what’s available.

  42. liz hall June 9, 2015 at 5:54 am -

    My husband and I are getting divorced and splitting the equity of our home. The appraisal we got was for 118,000 and the tax valuation for the home is 137,500. Should I try and get another appraisal since my husband is going to be buying me out?

  43. Colin Robertson June 9, 2015 at 11:28 am -


    That’s up to you and your ex and what you feel comfortable with in terms of valuation. A subsequent appraisal could come in lower, higher, or the same.

  44. steve June 19, 2015 at 7:36 pm -

    Here’s a good one for you. I had a Wells Fargo loan officer who completely screwed up my loan by listing the purchase price at 680K vrs. 699,900 on the loan contract as well as the contract sent to the appraiser. She ordered the appraisal and it came in at 780K. good news right? She decided to quit right in the middle of my loan and that whole nightmare is another long story. With the help of everyone at Wells we were able to get the loan contract fixed with the proper price and got our approval just a few days late and we are all set to close in the next 2 weeks. Today I receive a call from my current loan officer letting me know the now the underwriter has decided they didn’t like the appraisal and had revalued it to the purchase price listed on the report (this was listed wrong at 680K for the reasons above) I am now in a serious situation as they might have to restructure the loan causing me to come up with another 17k which will tap into my reserves thus not letting me qualify for the loan. This whole experience with Wells Fargo has been a nightmare and I am wondering if they are possibly liable for all of these mistakes, and what gives them the right to change a licensed appraisers figures by 100K when they hired them in the first place. I signed all of my loan contingency’s as soon as the loan was approved. so now I am in jeopardy of losing over 13k.

  45. Colin Robertson June 20, 2015 at 11:28 am -


    That sure is a “good” one…sorry to hear that happened to you. You certainly have an argument to either have them fix it or re-appraise it at their expense since they inputted incorrect information which seems to have swayed the value. Note I say argument, not sure they’re obligated to make it right.

  46. Libby June 26, 2015 at 2:21 pm -

    Has anyone heard of an appraisal coming in super low because the buyer is getting a 95% loan value? 2 different houses these people are trying to buy received super low appraisals….

  47. Jennifer July 21, 2015 at 5:20 pm -

    HI, we are doing a refi and the mortgage company ordered an appraisal. The cost was $500, a little high but we paid. They called a couple days later and said the appraiser said that our home is considered a “special property” and want another $300 before they come out to do the appraisal. Is this common? We’ve never heard of this and I called a friend who is an appraiser and she said it shouldn’t be that much. We are in a type of rural area but not that far out and it is a custom home of 3700 sq. ft. Thanks

  48. Colin Robertson July 22, 2015 at 10:40 pm -


    Appraising a rural home with few comparable properties can be more difficult/demanding, hence the higher fee. You could attempt to negotiate or shop around if possible if you feel it’s too expensive.

  49. Bill Haase August 15, 2015 at 6:15 pm -

    My girl friend has sold a house last year. She is getting Audited by the IRS and they have requested an appraisal on the house as of 2008. How can we get that appraisal done or a copy? Does the County Auditor have a copy of an assessment as of 2008?

    — Bill

  50. Dee Dee August 18, 2015 at 10:41 am -

    I offered $155,000 on a ground level condo in St Louis, MO. My offer was accepted. Everything was going smoothly until the appraisal. It came back low at $142,000. I have appraisal contingency on my contract, which gives me the right to terminate and walk away. Since I am only borrowing $50,000 the lender has no issues loaning me the $50,000in despite of the lower appraisal. I, on the other hand do not want to put down $105,000 on something that’s overvalued. The sellers agent is asking for a second appraisal at their expense. If the second appraisal comes higher, would this hurt my negotiation with the seller and most importantly, can I still terminate the contract based on the first appraisal?
    I must also add that the appraisal was local, took pictures of the inside and outside of the unit, and did 5 comparable units within a mile. Two on the same street. I like the house but I am not willing to pay more than the appraisal value. I may consider $145,000. The seller keeps saying that the ground level is premium and since there’s not been any ground level units in the appraisal report, the appraisal value of $142,000 is crazy. One can make the argument that ground levels have less light, more security risks and more noise level since theres someone living above you.

    This is a tough situation and difficult to decide.
    Do I say ok to the second appraisal to be conducted en though the Lender is not requiring it?
    If it comes higher, will I be legally binded to the contract and lose my earnest money based on higher second appraisal?
    Should I make an offer of $145 and see if the seller counteroffers?
    Thank you in advance for your advice.

  51. Colin Robertson August 19, 2015 at 9:21 am -


    You should discuss contract specifics with your agent, but if you want to negotiate it might make better sense to do so before ordering an appraisal that may come in at value, thereby eliminating your negotiating currency.

  52. Robert Johnson September 1, 2015 at 11:13 am -

    As a homeowner, I find this practice of photographing interior rooms a troubling privacy issue.
    I’ve collected several original paintings by known artists, antiques and collectibles from my travels outside the country.
    There have been a few home invasions in my neighborhood and many not so ethical contractors working in the area. How easy that a thief would be able to identify, not only the most valuable items, but know exactly which room they were in, and the most direct route. Thieves generally do not want to spend much time burglarizing a home. The longer they are inside, the more chance they can be caught or discovered. These interior appraisal photos give them a restaurant menu and map to the best things!
    I can understand if the house were empty, not moved in, but taking pictures showing, not only expensive items, but the layout and location of security system cameras.
    If you need to report on the square footage and number of bathrooms and bedrooms, I can supply the architects plans. No stranger with a camera is getting in my house.
    Unless, of course, your bond or liability insurance will cover the losses of any break-in in perpetuity?
    There is no excuse for this invasion of privacy, unless you’re also working with the NSA.

  53. Colin Robertson September 1, 2015 at 12:02 pm -


    Maybe take the paintings down and remove valuables out of view before letting an appraiser in your home?

  54. Mike Y September 2, 2015 at 10:53 am -

    Hi Colin,

    We recently had a VA offer and appraisal of our home. It came in ~12k less($195k) than the list price($207k). According to our realtor, who met with the appraiser. He used 6+ month old comps and also said our pool was a wading pool even though it’s 6+ feet deep.

    According to the emails between the realtor and the mortgage company, our realtor is sending 3 additional comps that were sold in the last 3 months that are within a 1 mile radius and built around the same time as our house. We were told that the underwriter will do a re evaluation.

    My question is, since this is a VA loan, is the underwriter able to re-evaluate? Is it set in stone that the underwriter must use the appraisers value?


  55. Colin Robertson September 3, 2015 at 9:17 am -


    Lenders can consider new comps in certain cases if the original valuation seems flawed.

  56. Marty September 8, 2015 at 11:41 am -

    I would like to purchase the building next door to us, we offered the seller 30% over the fair market value on the property appraisers tax notice which brings the offer to $115,700.00. But the seller has a property appraisal report from June 29, 2008 appraising the building at $185,000.00 and doesn’t want to get another appraisal. If we decide to go through a bank for financing would they request a more up to date one.

  57. Colin Robertson September 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm -


    Banks generally require an appraisal if you need to take out a mortgage to determine the value of the property they are taking a risk on.

  58. Candace Henderson September 10, 2015 at 7:09 am -

    I have a contract to sell my home to a veteran. He has a pre-approval up to $150,000 from his bank, using a VA-backed loan. This is his second VA loan and no longer owns his previous house. The contract is to sell the home for $140,500. The buyer has already paid to have inspections completed and the appraisal has been done. After the appraisal was conducted but before the appraiser sent documentation, the bank said that they wanted to inflate the sales price to $144,001 so they could get the higher amount of guarantee from the VA. The house appraisal came in at the original asking price ($140,500), but the bank won’t issue the loan because it didn’t come in at the higher price they were wanting. Is that appropriate? I’ve never seen a bank want the value to be greater than the agreed on price between buyer and seller. I would truly appreciate any help you can offer.

  59. Colin Robertson September 10, 2015 at 11:59 am -


    There’s a VA rule that the loan needs to be just above $144k in order to use second tier entitlement.

  60. Nadine L. September 15, 2015 at 9:29 pm -

    I am selling my NYC rental home built in 1964. It is an attached home; designated as a two family home with two apartments, a finished basement and one car garage. The builder constructed the home with a bathroom (consisting of a toilet and a sink) in the finished basement. In 1965 a small kitchen was installed to enhance the area for entertaining. The potential buyers are requesting that bathroom, stove and oven are removed prior to the appraisal; in order to obtain a mortgage. Question: Why is the bank requesting that the items are removed prior to the appraisal? I feel it is unfair to remove the items prior to the finalization of a mortgage. In essence, I may not agree with the appraiser’s value of the home which may impact the finalization of the deal. Please advise!

  61. Colin Robertson September 16, 2015 at 10:32 am -


    Perhaps that work was not permitted, and thus the lender won’t offer financing. But it’d be scary to remove all that stuff and have the buyer walk after the fact.

  62. BARBARA September 25, 2015 at 7:45 am -

    I posted a message on your fb page. does the buyer have the right to see the actual charge from the appraiser? the brokers fee sheet says $600 and the lenders fee sheet says 465. i want to know if we were overcharged.

  63. Colin Robertson September 25, 2015 at 8:28 am -


    What did you agree to pay upfront? That amount is generally the cost of the appraisal. If you feel you’ve been wronged, you could point out the varying costs and ask for a credit for the difference if they charged the higher amount.

  64. Julie October 14, 2015 at 11:10 am -


    I have a house under agreement at $350,000. This is a low price when compared to market because I’m buying it from an elderly woman who is like family. I have qualified for an FHA loan and only plan to put 3.5% down. The house needs some TLC so I will be looking to take out a home equity shortly after closing to redo kitchen/baths. The appraisal for the mortgage just came back at $360,000. This covers the mortgage amount but is extremely low. The comp’s used are not in the neighborhood etc. Should I ask for another appraisal or leave well enough alone since it covers the mortgage amount? Will this appraisal have an impact on my ability to get a home equity loan or line of credit after I close?

  65. Colin Robertson October 15, 2015 at 8:40 am -


    The home equity loan lender will likely want their own appraisal, and it’s unclear if you’ll be able to successfully get a higher value by asking them to run new comps. The subsequent lender offering a home equity loan may not use those same comps, so it may be best to leave it alone.

  66. Dale October 17, 2015 at 7:44 pm -

    We’re in the process of doing a refi. We started with one bank then switched to a second. Appraisal sought by first bank said home was $520. Second bank wanted new appraisal — it came in at only $430! And 2 of the comps on both appraisals were exactly the same homes (it’s the adjusted values of those exact comps, differing by $70 – $90 k between the 2 appraisals, that’s driving the overall difference). After studying the details I found many errors/omissions in the second appraisal. I also studied the comps and there are serious questions about the second appraisals Value Adjustments. I have submitted these to the bank. It’s still under review with them, but I suspect they want to stand by the lower appraisal. And they did seem uncomfortable when I pointed out the dramatic differences in the same comp adjustments/oversights. What recourse do I have if the second bank stands by the mistakenly lower appraisal? The difference is so large, the adjustments are so inaccurate and the bank is being so stubborn it feels like something is seriously wrong. Thoughts?

  67. David October 19, 2015 at 10:10 am -


    Great list of advice in this thread.

    I’m in the market for a house and had an appraisal done by the mortgage broker. The house came in appraised at about $100,000 more than the zillow valuation of the property. Should I be concerned about the true value of the home?

  68. Colin Robertson October 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm -


    If they don’t go for it can you go back to the first bank?

  69. Colin Robertson October 20, 2015 at 3:10 pm -


    An appraisal is one individual’s opinion of the home’s value…Zillow uses its own algorithm…they’re often far off, especially if the subject property is unique in any way or has few comps.

  70. Ben October 28, 2015 at 10:37 am -

    Looking at a home refinance, the lender told us everything was great, asked us to estimate what we thought the house was worth and ordered an appraisal. When the appraisal came back it was a little lower than expected but not too far off, the lender said we needed a 75% loan to value ratio to refinance and denied the loan. We’re out the $600 paid for the appriasal, the appraisal would have had to come in 20% higher than we had thought to make this 75% loan to value ratio which we weren’t told before we paid for the appraisal. The lender knew there was no chance of us qualifying when they ordered the appraisal, i feel they acted in bad faith, is there any way we can get the $600 back?

  71. Colin Robertson October 29, 2015 at 9:42 am -


    You mentioned it was close, so I don’t know if you can say with certainty that the lender acted in bad faith if it had come in just a bit higher. You may try to negotiate with them to rework the loan based on the new value or ask for a second opinion, or shop with a different lender.

  72. Christy October 30, 2015 at 10:19 am -

    We live in a rural area of West Texas with a booming real estate market. The town we live in is land locked has approximately 50 homes and we are 2 blocks from the high school and the newly built elementary school which was originally 10 miles away. There are three school systems in our county and ours is the most desirable and thus limits student transfers. We have 2 acres (own a city block). Our house is only 1300 sf though (3/2/2 completely updated in 2012 with all new plumbing, electric, windows, insulation, new custom cabinets, recessed LED lighting, etc etc). Unfortunately there are no comps for our house. We are asking $180,000 and are selling it ourselves. Should we ask for an appraiser to assess the house so we don’t have any surprises down the road? I’m afraid it might only assess for around $140,000 or so but the market is booming so I think we could easily get the $180,000. Will we have problems when it comes time for the buyer to get a loan?

  73. Colin Robertson October 30, 2015 at 3:12 pm -


    It can certainly be challenging to appraise unique properties with few comps, but that’s not to say they won’t value your home as you think they should. Just means it a bit harder to predict. Not sure you want to pay for an appraisal before finding a buyer.

  74. Tan November 11, 2015 at 2:48 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I’m selling my house in booming Dallas market. But somehow, I’ve been a bit unlucky. My first contract was set at 310K but the appraisal came at 303K and buyer walked away. The buyer was only putting 5% down. Now I have another buyer, this time I have reduced the price for quick sale and the contract price is 303K (exactly same as the first appraisal). The second buyer is putting in 20% down. I’m a bit concerned, since appraisals are subjective, what if the appraisal comes like 10-15K lower then the contract price. The buyer will walk away and I certainly won’t taking that big of a loss in a good seller’s market. What are the chances of getting a appraisal at or above the contract price of 303K — with buyer being pre approved and putting 20% down. Please advice. Thanks!

  75. Ben November 17, 2015 at 4:32 pm -

    I just realized what you were referring to as close, I think you misunderstood me. I meant the actual appraisal was close to our estimate of the appraisal, but even if our estimate was spot on it wasn’t anywhere near the value they were asking us for to close the loan. There is no possible way that the house would appraise high enough to meet their requirements yet they charged us for an appraisal anyway instead of telling us up front that it wouldn’t work out.

  76. Colin Robertson November 19, 2015 at 9:30 am -


    Depends what their refund policy is and what you discussed. You may be able to convince them to refund you the cost if you felt you were wronged, but that’s between you and them.

  77. Colin Robertson November 19, 2015 at 10:08 am -


    It certainly helps that they are putting more money down because even if the appraisal comes in low they could rework the deal. And if an appraisal came in at that value recently there’s a good chance a subsequent one will find a similar value. Good luck.

  78. Bertha November 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm -

    Hi Colin, I am getting ready to close on long term refinancing of a construction loan for a newly completed townhome. There are 3 townhomes, and the appraisals for the other 2 townhomes came in at $480K, and $500K, from different banks. The units are identical, aside from mine mine being an end unit with more window sqft and a larger lot.

    Imagine my surprise when my bank’s appraisal came in low at $450K! I was counting on the value to be at or near the other 2 townhomes, in order to do an 80% LTV refi.

    I have provided my bank with copies of the other 2 appraisals. My file has gone back to underwriting, but my loan officer isn’t very knowledgeable about the process. She can only say that the underwriter will contact the appraiser, and it will be up to him.

    Do you know if this appraisal review process is standardized? Any insight on what I can expect, or if there are additional steps I can take? Can I only wait in suspense?

    Thank you!

  79. Colin Robertson December 1, 2015 at 12:00 pm -


    Appraised values can vary widely from company to company, or appraiser to appraiser. And also can change from month to month as new data comes in and is utilized in determining value. Some folks try a different bank if they don’t get the value they need from the first bank.

  80. Jesse S. December 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm -

    Hey Colin,

    I have a quick question concerning appraisals.
    We put our home on the market around June of this year, and had the home appraised — it appraised at $560,000…
    The market for higher priced homes is a bit soft in our area at the time. So once our listing expired, we decided to go with a refi to lower our current interest rate, and move towards paying off our mortgage — or at least paying down our mortgage more rapidly.
    Of course with a new lender involved for a refi, they required that we get another appraisal performed, even though we had it appraised two months prior.
    The lender said it would be a conflict of interest to use our previous appraisal…
    So we paid for another appraisal, and the home appraised at $524,000. I asked why, and she told me because homes are appraised differently between putting a home on the market, versus a refi…

    Is this true? — we are so frustrated right now!

  81. Colin Robertson December 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm -


    Appraisals can vary from bank to bank depending on what comps they use. There shouldn’t be a difference between bank or real estate agent ordered appraisal if it’s truly objective and based on data. Compare them side-by-side to see why they’re different. Perhaps they used different comparable properties to determine value. And you could maybe challenge that or bring it to their attention.

  82. Ramirez B. December 8, 2015 at 7:29 pm -

    I have a question concerning appraisals.

    I had an appraisal done by VA came back 305,000.00
    New Construction custom home total 375,000.00

    Cant close on loan…
    What can I do???
    What are my options Conventional or FHA???
    I don’t have enough for down payment or closing cost
    is there a different route to take on this?
    I so frustrated and mad right now.


  83. Colin Robertson December 9, 2015 at 4:33 pm -


    May have to try a different lender and hope the appraisal comes in way higher, or challenge existing appraisal but it seems pretty far off. Other loan options depend on what you’re eligible for, which is based on all types of factors like credit, income, assets, loan amount, LTV, etc.

  84. Mike R. December 16, 2015 at 2:10 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    Quick question. Recently went under contract on a home for 300k. The home was purchased 2 months prior for 205k and renovated. Similar homes in neighborhood are selling/have sold for around 250-270k or so. However, these were not renovated (homes built in 1970s). The home that was purchased also is on a larger, corner lot compared to others in the neighborhood. The bank just came back and ordered a desk appraisal after the initial appraisal. I know this is something not totally uncommon, but how worried do you think I should be?

    My guess is that they are having a tough time determining the value based on the remodel. Also, fwiw, our LTV is 100%, based on assets held at the bank, they require us to have no money down, while still giving us terms as if we were putting 20% down (in an effort to keep assets invested/under management). So any adjustment in appraisal affects us 1:1.

  85. Mike R. December 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm -

    Nevermind. Appraisal came back over 300k!

  86. Iris December 29, 2015 at 1:11 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I received two appraisal reports from our bank. The first appraisal is at a higher value, and some days later, we received a second appraisal report by the same person, and she did the appraisal on the same day. The second appraisal is 50k lower, with another set of comps, but everything else is the same. Is it illegal for an appraiser to issue two reports with two values? I suspect the independence of these appraisal reports, and it seems like something went on between the bank and the appraisal. Do you have any idea about this situation? What should I do now? Thanks a lot!

  87. Evone December 30, 2015 at 6:54 am -

    Hi I was wondering if records are kept after an appraiser has done his or her deed? If so where are they kept? Do they go to a county assessor’s office or something like that. I guess what I am trying to find out is can a recent appraisal on property be used for a new person needing an appraisal for the same property? Just to get an idea of the value of property that we believe is way to high.

  88. Colin Robertson December 30, 2015 at 9:43 am -


    Best to ask why two appraisals were ordered and then determine what the differences were…why did they use new comps, etc. That should help you get to the bottom of it.

  89. Colin Robertson December 30, 2015 at 9:47 am -


    Sometimes appraisals are portable, but only if the borrower ordered it with one lender and applies with another. Using another borrower’s paid-for appraisal isn’t really how it works.

  90. Sam January 13, 2016 at 10:13 pm -

    Hello, I have a question for you. I am currently renting a home from a family member. He has chosen to have the house appraised. I expect photos to be taken, however did not have hardly any notice. So my question is, do appraisers volunteer the photos to the owner or are they typically requested prior?

  91. Jackie January 21, 2016 at 2:08 pm -

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around appraisers. You can not pick an appraiser from the banks and large banks barely pay appraisers so the large bank lists are mostly those that do it on the side for less money. Have changed banks to get a competent appraiser that don’t have complaints filed against them and work harder to do a real appraisal. But we as the consumer have to deal with what we are dealt from these appraisers. Why is there such a huge difference from appraisers on one piece of property? Are there not guidelines? Like granite countertops appraise for more! Quality more! Estates property more than neighborhood!????

  92. Colin Robertson January 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm -


    Often the biggest difference in appraisals is different comparable properties used. Things like countertops shouldn’t sway the value too much if at all.

  93. Michelle January 30, 2016 at 8:30 pm -

    We are currently renting our home from my in-laws (they own the home, it has no current mortgage). We will be starting the home buying process in the next couple of months. We agreed to purchase the home for $75K. We have done a good bit of renovations including the installation of central heating and air and a new roof is going on this coming week. We will be getting a VA loan on the house, but was not sure if we should go through a bank or a mortgage company. Also, we know the house is going to appraise for more than $75k…thinking it will appraise for around $130K with all the renovations and upgrades we have done. Will the bank only loan us the amount we agreed upon (sale price) $75K or will we be able to get a loan for what the house appraises for? Do you recommend a bank or mortgage company?


  94. Colin Robertson February 1, 2016 at 11:27 am -


    The bank would give you a loan based on the lower of appraised value or sales price. Check out my post about the differences between brokers/lenders for more on that.

  95. Melissa February 5, 2016 at 10:09 pm -

    Hi Colin,
    We live in CA and are in the process of purchasing our first home. We offered $410,000 and the house appraised at $405,000. The interior has been completed remodeled; however, there were some things that came up on the inspection that we would like repaired. The seller countered asking for $407,500 and agreeing to some repairs. Out loan is for 5% down. My question is, can we pay the difference between the appraised amount and the counteroffer?

  96. Brandi February 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I live in GA and I was a first time home buyer and I unfortunately trusted my real estate agent, who was recommended by the lender. (Actually the lender told me that in order to get financed I had to use agent that they recommended). That being said it was not the best process, but nonetheless I’m in the home and have been here for less than a year.

    It took forever to get the appraisal back, appraiser was also specified by the broker (I could not obtain my own appraiser or inspector) and it said that my home was worth basically the purchase price was. Currently, I’m filing my homestead exemption and and seeing that for my neighborhood my purchase price was $42k higher than the most expensive home in the neighborhood. There is nothing special about my home, no swanky upgrades, just a standard bungalow.

    Was I duped? What would be recourse be if there was some squirellyness going on with the value of my house? My mortgage has already been sold to another mortgager (if thats the way you say it).

  97. Brandi February 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm -

    Oh also the assessment value (which I don’t know what the difference between that and appraisal value) is appx 95k less than what I paid for the house. Does this make sense? I purchased from investors.

  98. Irina February 11, 2016 at 11:21 am -

    I was trying to refinance my house with a reputable bank, everything was going fine paperwork wise. At the very beginning of this process bank had ordered an appraisal, that I’ve paid $525 for. Just got a call yesterday from the bank, that unfortunately they can’t give me a loan, because I work through a temp agency, even though my income more than qualifies and I have no gaps in my employment history. When I asked what do I do with $525 appraiser bill, that I can’t use for anything now, I was told that it’s my responsibility anyway and that the bank won’t reimburse me.
    Are they right and I can’t get reimbursed for this appraisal?

  99. Colin Robertson February 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm -


    If you paid for the appraisal and it was nonrefundable you might be out of luck. You could try to argue or file a complaint but I don’t know if that’ll do any good depending on your agreement/paperwork. Alternatively you could see if a new lender could accept the appraisal (portability).

  100. Colin Robertson February 11, 2016 at 3:58 pm -


    You may (based on what you wrote) have overpaid for the home but I don’t know if that’s “illegal” or even factual. The price of something is generally what one is willing to pay for it, but if you feel there were a lot of interested parties working together to sell the home at an inflated value you might be on to something? Not sure what the recourse would be, maybe a question for an attorney.

  101. tony February 16, 2016 at 2:18 pm -

    It is interesting. Appraisals are a scam. it is for loan value not actual value. Home purchase does not always mean value. I bought a home for 200 it was worth 350K 60 days later refi the home. it is just interesting if you have a 500K bought for 300 the house is only worth 300K It is BS I guess a 3 carrot diamond worth 20K bought for 5K is only 5K diamond. Or classic car worth 20K bought for 10K makes it 10K so deals or hardship sales are not figured in on a one sided program.

  102. Diane February 21, 2016 at 6:05 pm -


    I purchased a property in 2011 that appraised $9,500 less than the Seller was asking. He first listed the rural property riduculously high a year after his purchase, about $58,000 which is over twice what he paid. The next year it was re-listed for $10K less but still at 1.9 times more than he paid. It went off the market for 2 years, then 3 days after I faxed my preapproval (as opposed to proof of funds), the property was relisted at closer to 1.5 times his investment and only $27,000 higher than he paid.
    In the end, we found the garage was built on top of the well making well inspections impossible and the property FHA ineligble and restricts the sale to non-FHA cash sales. This reduces the value of the property to almost exactly the cash price the Seller paid, and of course was unable to have any well imspection because that ability was lost when the garage was installed. There is really no good justification for such high listings and it turns out this issue was actively concealed to approve an FHA loan. During the loan process, the appraisal came in $9,500 lower and a huge deal was made over his sacrifice and loss and on and on to an extreme. Upon examining documents, checking calculations and performing web searches on the Comparable Sales/Listings used in the FHA Appraisal Report (that has no hint that the Appraiser did not find a well-head and she admits she did not), I find anomalies that cause me to suspect the lower appraisal that was the cause of a big to-do and a reductionin sale price, may have been expected and intentional. Rural properties are allowed an exception to the standard limit and a wider net can be cast to select comparables. I do not believe it was necessary to use the rural distance exception because I looked at many properties with a set of specific requirements and all were more than $100,000. The property we purchased was a rare find under $100K. The end result was an apparent $10K reduction, a $10K reduction, a $$27K reduction that calculates at just $480 less than my pre-approval and another $9,500 whrn the appraisal came in low. I’m totally thinking the high starting value and apparent reductions were a decoy for the fact that he still recieved $18,500 more than the cash price he paid. And considering the FHA appraiser or any human has been able to see or access the well since the garage was built 25 years before, the loss that is cried about loudly may be a cry over less profit.
    The values in the appraisal report are too close to the final value. I am a experienced research scientist and must always look out for numbers that are too perfect. 100% or even 98.8% on target in asmall number of examples is of concern to a Molecular Biologist as unlike any real data that generally varies. I suspect the lower valuation was the goal. It still over-estimates the true value by $20,000. I am looking for a tool or means of proving the bias I detect from experience with data, but not in the context of real estate valuation.

  103. ROBIN February 22, 2016 at 8:01 pm -

    i am trying to take out pmi from your lender, wells fargo. they said my home was appraised for $371k when i bought in 2010. they even said my ltv is 82% based on bought in value. they suggested to do appraisal from their recommended rel and if my ltv comes less than 80%, they will take it out my pmi, however, it will cost me $550 for appraisal fee. i am thinking the fee is bit higher. and more importantly, it is worth doing appraisal from them. what if they come up short. simply, i do not feel comfortable with their recommended rel. is there any choice for me to ask different appraisal co. if so how should i proceed and what to ask for wells fargo to my comfort.

  104. Colin Robertson February 23, 2016 at 12:12 am -


    $550 seems a bit steep, but some companies seem to charge more than others. Are you pretty confident the value will be high enough to put the LTV at 80% or less? I guess that’s what you have to ask yourself. It may also be possible to refinance away from WF and drop the PMI if they assign an LTV of 80% or less. That could make sense if you want a new rate/loan program as well.

  105. AGREA February 27, 2016 at 7:11 pm -

    $250 for an appraisal? The prices 10 years ago were $350+. An appraisal today is averaging $425 for a basic home. Please correct this as anyone reading this will discredit the balance of your well written article.

    Association of Georgia Real Estate Appraisers (AGREA)

  106. Colin Robertson February 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm -

    Interestingly enough, Wells Fargo actually lists a full appraisal cost from $225 – $820, even lower than $250.

  107. Dave February 29, 2016 at 7:53 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I have a question regarding the lender/Appraisal relationship, as my current situation looks a little fishy and not sure what I can do about it.

    I’m currently in the process of buying my first home. It was a multi-offers, biding war type deal and the seller wants no appraisal contingency. To protect myself and to make my offer looked more solid, we wrote an offer above asking (all initial offers came at full asking or near), and backdoor the appraisal contingency into the deal by saying I will paid the different if the appraisal comes in no less than xxx amount (a price I know if will not be appraised below).

    Long story short, offer accepted, and appraisal happened. The original appraised value was at purchase price. However, my lender held the report a few days for “review” and has asked the appraiser to remove a few comps and to make adjustments. When I finally received the report and the official appraisal…it’s under value (it started that adjustment was made by the lender’s request). I think it might have to do with my contingency (which was to only make my offer looks stronger), but the lender might think I’m willing to over pay and have asked to adjust down?

    My agent has provided additional matching comps and built a case as to how the reported comps don’t even fit the lender’s own criteria, but they don’t seen to care or want to hear my agent out.

    I though it is illegal for lender to influence the appraiser, but is the lender playing games with the appraisal price in my situation? and is there are anything I can do about it (short from looking for a new lender)?

    Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  108. Colin Robertson March 1, 2016 at 4:35 pm -


    It sounds like you’ve already done what most would recommend doing – challenging the value with your agent by bringing in new comps. If they won’t go for it you might have to look for a new lender if you’re not willing to pay the difference between purchase price and appraisal.

  109. Ginger March 2, 2016 at 7:50 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    My question is kind of similar to the mentioned question above. Buying our first home. Sales price of $118,500. It was listed at $125,000. Appraisal came back on 2/16 at $125,000. I was ecstatic then the bank reviewed and decided the comps used weren’t recent enough. Very rural area with minimal sales and not many that are comparable to the house in question.

    The comps used were within the last 12 months. The area has only had 7 sales in the last 12 months and the appraiser choose the most comparable instead of most recent. And made adjustments to come up with his value.

    Here it’s been over 2 weeks and the bank has been trying to find a second appraiser to do a drive by review and are paying for this extra review.

    I feel that they are trying really hard to approve the loan. But I’m so sick to my stomach that the review will come in significantly lower. What’s the likelihood that the review will concur with the original appraiser? Does the reviewer since they are just doing a drive by have the ordinal appraisal report to compare?

  110. Colin Robertson March 4, 2016 at 2:33 pm -


    Impossible to say, but this is common practice for a rural property with limited comps. They need to ensure they get the value right, sadly. Good luck!

  111. Cor March 6, 2016 at 8:28 am -

    When switching lenders because the lock ended and the rates went down, I am required to obtain a new appraisal less than 60 days after the first one because The first lender refuses to transfer appraisal to second lender, even though we paid for it!! Why is that?

  112. Colin Robertson March 6, 2016 at 11:16 am -


    Not all appraisals are portable for one reason or another. Some lenders recognize certain companies, some don’t.

  113. Dee March 9, 2016 at 5:53 am -

    I have an appraisal on Monday. What are some things that appraisers look for and what can we do to help raise that appraisal.

  114. Stephen March 14, 2016 at 5:30 pm -


    My daughter is selling her condo which she paid $120,000 for in 2008 and is asking $124,000 today. Many improvements were made, all new flooring, new heating/air conditioning and all new appliances. The week it went up for sale she had daily activity and 2 offers within a week. The appraiser came out on his appointment date and exactly one week later showed up unannounced while my son-in-law was home sick, he was letting himself in via the lock box. His excuse was he forgot his camera the week before but never asked the realtor or the home owners to make a return visit. It took another two weeks before he finished his report and it was appraised $15,000 lower than the original selling price. I feel this appraiser is incompetent and wonder if there is an appeal that can be made or someone to report his actions which I think are unethical. My daughter lost the sale because of this appraisal.

  115. Colin Robertson March 16, 2016 at 10:06 am -


    Appraisers are meant to assign their own objective values to properties so if that’s what he came up with I don’t know if it can be appealed, especially if the buyer already walked away as a result. If that buyer is indeed gone, ideally the next prospective buyer’s appraiser will come up with a higher value.

  116. Colin Robertson March 16, 2016 at 10:33 am -


    Most appraisal stuff is either stuff you can’t really change overnight (number of bedrooms/bathrooms) or ever (views, location). Not sure curb appeal would make a meaningful difference but it can’t hurt to make the property presentable.

  117. scott deiter March 16, 2016 at 8:02 pm -

    Hello Colin,

    In 2003 we paid 355k for our home. In 2011 we refinanced with Wells Fargo and the house appraised at 425k. We are refinancing again with Wells Fargo and their appraisal came back at 330k. It seemed odd and we were wondering if our land price was included so we asked for clarification and received this response…..”Your last appraisal (2011)  was $425,000. Both appraisals do include your land. The difference in the amounts is based off what the market is like and the comparables used. The comparables are based off the recent sales in your area that are similar to your home type. So it may have been that sales were better in 2011 than they are now.” Is this on the up and up? What are the negative effects of this? Those appraisals are very different and are concerning. Thank you.

  118. Colin Robertson March 22, 2016 at 11:28 am -


    It sounds like they’re just using recent sales comps, which is standard. Perhaps the most recent ones were lower than they were in 2011, which is somewhat surprising given the recent home price gains in most areas of the country.

  119. Brett March 27, 2016 at 10:25 am -

    Hi Colin –

    I am looking to buy a second property for investment/vacation purposes. I found a developer that is looking to unload their model home and I can purchase for about $80K less than asking price (list price $635K, sell price $555K). I’m pretty sure that any lender will want 20% down to avoid PMI. Is that correct? I’m trying to be creative and not put any more cash into this than possible. Can I ask the lender to sell at full list, knowing it will appraise for that, and then have them pay the $80K difference as part of my down payment?

  120. Colin Robertson April 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm -


    A lender will go off the lower of the appraised value/purchase price to determine LTV and it must be at/under 80% to avoid MI unless they build MI into the rate.

  121. Vanesa April 25, 2016 at 8:35 pm -

    Hi Colin!

    My husband and I purchased our first home about two years ago. We were approved for a conventional mortgage through Wells Fargo, but had to pay PMI because we fell short of the 20% down payment. At that time, the home was appraised as a 3 bedroom home with the third bedroom being a converted garage. It looks like it was done correctly. It has A/C, electric, and the flooring is also level to the rest of the home.

    We recently had another appraisal to potentially remove the PMI since home values have gone up in our area. The new appraisal, however, did not count the converted garage as a bedroom since it was (apparently) not permitted. We purchased the home without knowing this and there were no red flags throughout the process.

    I have contacted our real estate agent, who has been doing this for over 20 years, and she has never encountered a problem like this. I’d like to have the PMI removed, but I’m afraid of stirring the pot and creating more trouble than its worth. What advice could you give us?

  122. Colin Robertson April 28, 2016 at 3:12 pm -


    I’ve heard of this happening, though semi-surprised the first appraiser didn’t notice it wasn’t permitted. Could try to get it permitted so it can factor in to the value to drop PMI.

  123. Kim June 1, 2016 at 2:41 pm -

    We have been trying to refinance our home. The lender we have been going through sent an appraiser from a different part of the state and he even told us he was not familiar with the area. Also, he used comps outside of our zip code (lower end homes). I requested from our lender for another appraisal since the first one was not familiar with the area, but they told us it is illegal. Is it illegal to request another appraisal from a more local company?

  124. Colin Robertson June 2, 2016 at 9:39 am -


    Not sure what they are saying is illegal, perhaps handpicking an appraiser. But they should be able to get a second independent appraisal from an approved company if it warrants another look.

  125. Kameron June 6, 2016 at 3:11 pm -

    My husband and I got our house appraised during a drive by appraisal and it came in $20k lower than a house that sold less than a month ago (which is the same house model and elevation, same sq ft.) how is that possible??? Our house has more upgrades than the one that just sold for 20k more…I know it was a drive by but shouldn’t our house come in at the same value as the one that just sold?

  126. Yaron Yoreh June 7, 2016 at 10:28 am -

    Hey Colin,
    I bought a condo and the mortgage appraisal came out at 15k$ less than my purchase (about 2%) and I found some mistakes in it. I’m trying to talk to chase to change it, they tried to appeal but since all the comps were in the appraisal (though it was wrong) they said there’s nothing they can do. Is that so? Can a manager not approve this?
    Thank you.

  127. Colin Robertson June 7, 2016 at 3:07 pm -


    Could be two different appraisal companies with different risk appetites so it’s possible. Maybe point this out to your lender to see why yours came in lower to see if there’s a detail you or they missed.

  128. Colin Robertson June 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm -


    Sometimes it’s possible to overturn, sometimes it’s not unfortunately. You can ask Chase to get a second opinion (ideally on their dime) to see if the value comes through. Mistakes as you refer to them might be subjective…

  129. Jen June 9, 2016 at 4:58 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I’m curious if the appraisals banks get for your house are the same as the market value counties use for Property Taxes?


  130. tony stall June 12, 2016 at 7:47 am -


    We applied and received a loan recently. The money has been already used to pay several other creditors. Part of this process involved a drive by appraisal, which the lender arranged, and the loan amount was subsequently determined by the lender based upon the appraisal performed. Now, about a month after the loan was approved and money provided to us, the lender has contacted us and says “we (the lender) made an LTV calculation mistake and as such, we want to re-do a full appraisal.” They seem in a great hurry to do this, and have stated it will not cost us anything and that “for our inconvenience” they will re write the loan at a slightly lower interest rate.

    Something seems fishy to me about all this, and I am leery of now the new appraisal comes in lower.

    Can you tell me whether or not they are allowed to require this, whether I am obligated to go along with it, and what would happen if the appraisal is performed and the LTV isn’t high enough to support the original amount they lent to us?

    Thanks much!

  131. Colin Robertson June 24, 2016 at 3:50 pm -


    No, they’re different because the county probably uses some algorithm to get the assessed value of the property while an actual human being (in most cases) comes to your property to conduct an appraisal when it’s for a mortgage, which while objective, will still be somewhat subjective because it’s performed by an individual and they choose comparable properties to ascribe a market value.

  132. John H V July 8, 2016 at 10:40 pm -

    Hi Colin,
    Great website and liked the article. I was hoping you could reply to my question.

    I am a week away from closing date and still in conditional approval phase. I submitted all the remaining documents underwriter / loan processor asked for + Lender got the credit supplements too. However, the loan processor is waiting for one last document to put the file back in front of underwriter. T

    That last doc is an addendum from appraiser. Loan processor said the addendum is to be required because I, the buyer, is getting a commission from my realtor agent (also financing situation changed now as LTV ratio reduced from 90% to 80% with some 8% of property price coming in as gift).

    My question is why would the appraiser need to give an addendum if he originally didn’t know about agent commission or if financing structure changed with gift money. How would it change the appraisal value, if at all, because this is not seller’s concession / credits.

    Please help me as I am eagerly waiting for clear to close.

    Thank you

  133. Colin Robertson July 11, 2016 at 8:59 am -


    My assumption is that you are an interested party if you’re getting a commission based on valuation.

  134. Monica July 19, 2016 at 8:13 pm -

    I live in a very small Historic Town and now my appraiser says my home is unique. I don’t understand. The home has been remodeled. Why I am being labeled this way?

  135. Colin Robertson July 20, 2016 at 8:16 am -


    So-called “unique” properties can be difficult to appraise because it generally means there are fewer comps to compare it to…doesn’t necessarily mean higher/lower value, just harder to assign value.

  136. Danielle August 2, 2016 at 11:29 pm -

    Hi Colin! My condo came in 25k less than the price we agreed on. The sellers are not willing to come down on their price and I’m going to lose this deal BC I don’t have the cash to make up the difference. We already re-evaluated the appraisal and it came in again at the same price and they still are refusing. Can I order a whole new appraisal with my bank? I am willing to even pay for it. But I would need the sellers to agree to amend the contract and say that if it comes in lower a third time they have to give it to me for that price

    Will the bank allow me to get a new appraisal?

  137. Colin Robertson August 4, 2016 at 11:39 am -


    You’ll have to ask your bank – they might be able to use a different appraisal company to appraise the property. You may want to determine beforehand if there are any favorable comps that were overlooked the first two times around.

  138. Chad August 12, 2016 at 8:52 am -


    I am in the process of refinancing a manufactured home. This is a FHA loan. The person that I am working with came back and said that the appraisal didn’t have the FHA number on it and that they would have to get in touch with him. Does an appraisal need/have this type of information?

  139. Christopher August 16, 2016 at 9:31 pm -


    My landlord is insisting on yet another appraisal for “refinance”.
    We’ve been here for ten years, and it seems like every time she gets wind that something may not be right, she wants to “refinance” again, so needs to send an “appraiser” over.
    Let me explain.
    Our landlord lived here for ten years before moving on and making this a rental. It is a fairly established neighborhood, so on every side, and across the street, are homeowners all of whom lived here and knew her when she did.
    Example: I had my mother living here the last three years of her life. When she passed, my sister and brother in law helped me gather the things she had in storage, and move them here. The next day I got a phone call from my landlord.
    She said “I understand you have new roommates!!”
    Crazy, right?
    Anyway, I have recently fallen ill, and require oxygen. My wife and I like to sit out on the front porch after she returns from work (I can no longer work-for the past six months).
    So I’m sure word has gotten to her that I no longer work, that I sit on my porch of an evening with oxygen machine tubes running up my nose.
    And lo and behold, here she comes again with yet another refinance!!
    I should explain that she holds a fairly high-profile job in a very small community–she knows everyone, and vice-versa. I know she is concerned with her property, and my ability to maintain it–a large selling point when we first moved in. On that note, in ten years here, we have never called to have her remedy situations save for, I believe, three plumbing problems beyond our scope…I took care of the rest.
    In any event, as paranoid as this all sounds, I am convinced she wants to have a look around, see how the place looks.
    Which is fine. But I’m tired of (every) landlord I’ve ever had telling me they don’t make enough from my rent to cover the payment they make. I’m no dummy. I DO have a real estate license…
    Some years back she moved from a condo to a planned community with bay view, and I could understand pulling some money from this place to help develop that.
    My question is this.
    This would, I believe, mark the third time she’s “refinanced” this place.
    At what point does encumbering a property become counterproductive, and if, as she claims, the rent ALREADY doesn’t cover the payment, how much sense does it make to take a larger payment on it??
    Isn’t there such a thing as the point of diminishing returns for this?
    Thanks for listening to my rant, Colin!!

  140. Colin Robertson August 17, 2016 at 9:56 am -


    How do you know she’s taking on a larger payment? Did she say she’s taking cash out, or just lowering her interest rate with the refi. Lots of people are serial refinancers…I remember a similar situation in a rental when I was younger. The owner told me she would refi once every six months…then the whole thing came crashing down. Not sure your landlord would refi just to look inside the place…I’m assuming there are easier ways to accomplish that, perhaps with some maintenance or similar request.

  141. Steve Reyland August 19, 2016 at 9:08 am -

    Hello Colin,
    We are purchasing a home in St. Charles county, Missouri.
    The sell price we offered and was accepted is $380,000.
    The appraisal came back at $380,000. Great right? Well no.
    The appraisal came back with a quality rating of 4.2 out of 5. I was told there is an appraisal rating of 1 – 5. 1 is best and 5 is worst.
    What the heck is a quality rating? I would think it either appraised or it didn’t?
    Further explained to me is that anything over a 3 required a desk or field review.
    Can you explain any of this. It makes no sense to me.

    Thank you,

  142. Lorene Watson August 25, 2016 at 1:32 pm -

    hello, Can you tell me if I have the right to refuse a home appraiser before they come out? We are attempting to re-fi and the ‘next one in line” doesn’t seem to have the time to make the appointment, nor answer their phone.. Wondering how I can expect confidence in their numbers/homework.

  143. Colin Robertson August 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm -


    Doubtful but you can ask. Best to be patient in these situations, even if it is frustrating…the loan process takes time, and even more these days with lenders so busy and regulations more stringent.

  144. brook August 31, 2016 at 1:16 pm -

    Hi, my parents home in NY , that they have lived in 35 years ( refi’d many times) is in foreclosure ( or about to be ). They are seniors and will never work again. They owe about 425k ( havent paid mortgage in 2 years ), we just got it appraised and it was appraised at over 700k ( the whole house was upgraded and renovated after a fire many years ago). Is there any way for them to keep the house? reverse mortage, refi ? something. They lived their all there lives and are about to walk away with nothing, they are looking at low income senior places because they can not afford westchester rentals on a fixed income – soc sec & pension. Do they have any options to take advantage that the house has gone back up to pre-2008 prices? Thank you so much for your help in advance

  145. Stephanie September 1, 2016 at 10:25 pm -

    Hi, Colin. We bought a house last year for $75,000 with the real estate agent and appraiser both saying everything had been updated, improved, etc. The first week after closing, everything started falling apart. Septic tank had to be pumped, gas line had to be replaced, plumbing in the master bath and kitchen kept backing up in sinks, showers, and toilets, and hot water heater was deemed to be “condemned” and unusable. We checked over the appraisal again where it was appraised at $90,000. During this past year, we’ve had our stove catch fire (and found wiring throughout the house that wasn’t the correct wire along with scorch marks in the walls, cabinets, everywhere). The laminate flooring they had laid down before selling the house to us started shifting, so my son-in-law who was a flooring specialist for years lifted the laminate flooring up only to find five layers of vinyl flooring with asbestos under the laminate to cover molded floors and sub-flooring. While checking under the house, we found there are parts of the foundation that had been knocked down when the other owners added on to the house years ago. The area between the basement and main floor is being held up with the little green T-posts that you use for fencing. We decided to do more checking to see what else could possibly be wrong with this house. Wrong decision! We have no insulation anywhere in the house, and a very large cabinet that was strategically placed in an odd location in the living room blocks where the previous front door was located. It’s just a large hole with the black sheeting, a couple of 2 x 4s, and the bricks on the outside. No paneling or anything. Just a large open hole.

    Since finding all of these things wrong, we have redone all of the plumbing, some of the electrical, and laid some foundation between floors to hold the supporting wall in place since our house had shifted.

    My question is, is there anything we can do about the real estate agent and appraiser not being honest with us? If we try to refinance this house, and the new appraisal comes back at a lower price, what happens then? Will we still be stuck with a $75,000 mortgage, or will they be able to go with what the new appraisal shows? Please help! We’ve never been in the situation before.

    Thanks so much!

  146. Steven September 4, 2016 at 8:19 am -

    Colin, I am getting ready to sell my home next spring. I had an refi appraisal done about 6 months ago. My question is two fold. Are refi appraisals lower than a new mortgage appraisal and also, the last appraiser listed the heating and cooling system as forced air when it is Geo-thermal. Would those two factors effect the new mortgage appraisal?

  147. brenda September 4, 2016 at 10:21 am -

    we filed an appeal due to a very low appraisal, they denied. Are we allowed to have a different company appraise this home?

  148. Colin Robertson September 8, 2016 at 8:11 am -

    Hey Brook,

    It depends what the place would actually sell for and the existing liens (and penalties, back interest, fees, etc.)…may want to get in touch with a real estate agent to see if it’s possible to get it listed before it’s sold at auction if it’s determined they can pay off full balance and recoup some money. Good luck.

  149. Colin Robertson September 8, 2016 at 8:27 am -


    Sorry to hear about your house…perhaps some of these things might have been noticed by your inspector during the home buying process? As far as appraisal goes, if it appraises for more you can generally use that new value for a refi, if lower you’d likely abandon your refi.

  150. Colin Robertson September 8, 2016 at 9:09 am -


    Appraisals can vary tremendously from one appraiser to the next depending on the comp sales they use. Not sure the air would have much effect if any at all. Next spring you may get an entirely different value based on sales around that time, and again, with different appraiser point of view. Generally with a purchase the appraiser will know the purchase price and look to support that value if it makes sense.

  151. Colin Robertson September 8, 2016 at 9:10 am -


    Yes, but it sounds like you’ll have to find a new lender and might be subject to paying another appraisal fee.

  152. Dick Chandley September 14, 2016 at 8:40 am -

    The appraisal for a 1920s house does not mention lead paint. The house does have lead paint and extensive peeling. Flakes of paint have also contaminated the house periphery, so the soil will have to be abated as well. Does this violate any accepted appraisal rules?

  153. Karen October 3, 2016 at 6:34 pm -

    Colin – I’m quite discouraged with what I’m reading! Are appraisals nothing more than a way to devalue someone’s home? We’ve renovated the entire house, inside and out including electrical, A/C, plumbing, heating, roofing, kitchen, bath(s) all bedrooms and livingspaces, landscaping and pool + much more over the last 10 years. We’ve refi’d three times in the last 8 years and the last two refi’s appraised 20k LESS each time. We’re now 45k lower after nearly 100k in renovations. Are we victims of a terrible housing market or bad appraisers?

  154. Colin Robertson October 4, 2016 at 10:06 am -


    Sadly your home is subject to market forces and the surrounding homes, even if it’s the Taj Mahal…it can certainly help to make improvements, but it still may not be enough to swing the value meaningfully. In other words, home improvements are generally good for the occupants to enjoy and perhaps to increase the sales price in the future, but may not affect the appraised value significantly.

  155. Steve Reyland October 5, 2016 at 7:00 am -

    Here is a follow-up to a question posted on 8/19/16 that never got answered.
    Apparently the rating is generated by FannieMea based on some information they have in their database. Many factors play into the perception of the information they have. These are red flags to the lender that may or may not have substance. It’s up to the lender to decide to have another appraisal or move on with the initial approval. After talking to another lender they tell me the lender usually just moves on with the initial appraisal. Our lender decided to have another appraisal.

    A little information about our lender and loan. We have taken out a very unconventional loan called All-In-One. I’m not going to get into the specifics, but it’s basically a line of credit.

    The lender is not local and knows nothing of the area. I can only assume that is why they decided to get a second opinion. I was also assured by the financial institute I was working with that when this happens almost 100% of time the original appraisal is justified by auditing appraiser.

    The second appraisal came back and it was $50,000 less than the original appraisal. Can you believe that! Which one is right? They are so far apart it questions the integrity of the appraisal process or at least the appraisers.
    Now there is a protest and each appraiser justifies their findings to the other in hopes that there is some adjustments made to bring both appraisals in line with the correct or assumed valuation.
    The two appraisers justified their appraisals and didn’t budge.
    So, the AMC (Appraisal Management Company) has to sit down and go over each appraisal and decide which one is right and compare all the details and come up with an agreed upon value. It took two days so you know there is some real work going on right? No! The AMC picked a number right in the middle and valued the $380,000 property at $355,000. Brilliant!

    What a joke. The relocate company handling the sale is furious. After cooler heads prevail they reduce the price to $365,000 and the lender will only lend 80% of $355,000. We came up with some extra cash and both realtor adjusted their commissions to get this done.

    We got through this. Just wanted to point out what a sham the whole appraisal process is.

    Thanks for listening even though I got no feedback.


  156. Colin Robertson October 5, 2016 at 2:41 pm -


    Thanks for sharing your experience…apologies for not responding, I remember looking into the appraiser ratings but couldn’t find much on the topic.

  157. Stephany L November 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    I live in Miami, Florida. I want to buy a house for 430k. I qualify for 344k so the rest I planned to pull a cash out from a paid off investment property I have rented. I did the appraisal with the lenders prefered company. The appraisal came 25k-30k lower than what I was expecting. I sent back comparables and will try to dispute it. In case the results of the dispute are not favorable to me. Does it exists a way in which a lender takes everything into consideration and says ” well because of 25k i am going to loose a 430K loan applicant mind just approve it and move foward with both loans”. What else can I try? Seller wont come lower, we already negociated 30k. (List price is 459k) any idea or suggestion would help! Thanks!

  158. Chris December 6, 2016 at 12:51 pm -

    I am trying to eliminate my PMI from Wells Fargo and I am being told that I have to use their appraiser for the cost of $550 and it could take 4-8 weeks until the process is finished. I asked if I could use a certified appraiser and they said no. They also told me that I have to reach 78% of my original value if I do not order an appraisal. I am currently at 81.9% at my value and I know my house will appraise by 20%. Knowing that wells fargo was just in the news about overcharging for appraisals does this seem like an excessive amount and wait period? When I asked if I could dispute the $550 they told me that I could not. Am I stuck or do you think there are other options not including paying the principal down.

  159. Colin Robertson December 6, 2016 at 1:32 pm -


    It doesn’t sound that excessive, to be honest. I’m sure there are cheaper appraisals, but there are also costlier ones…

  160. Joyee January 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm -

    The lender ordered a re-appraisal of the condo that I’m trying to buy and asked me to pay for the second appraisal fee. Is this a common practice? The first appraisal shows the home value is greater than the loan amount.

  161. Colin Robertson January 24, 2017 at 9:20 pm -


    Hmm, if the first appraisal came in over value it’s a bit odd to ask for a second, especially on your dime. May want to fight that fee or ask realtor/seller to chip in. If it came in under value and you asked for a second opinion it would be more reasonable for you to pay.

  162. Lisa January 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    Really cool to see you actively keeping up to date with questions and replying over the years. I have a question:

    I have a townhouse, its actually one structure but is a multifamily structure so it fits two family at 1645sqft each. It was listed as singe family townhome but i’m purchasing both sides. This is an investment property and already tenant occupied. Now the bank estimated costs to be $655 each. I was a bit outraged with the cost. I have other friend who bought the same townhome for investment purposes less than a mile away & it was just one side so I was thinking collectively they would run lower together. Appraisals came back much lower for him, either in the 5’s or 4’s. I received my appraisal but no invoice. Is that standard to include? When researching the appraiser, they have the same office address as the lender. What are your thoughts as far as how i can go about getting a fair cost?

  163. Sonja February 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm -

    We applied for a conventional loan with one company and ended up having to switch to another. The appraisal just came in last night from company #1 but company # 2 says we need a new one and that this is due to new government regulations. Can you explain this for me?

  164. Colin Robertson February 15, 2017 at 2:14 pm -


    Appraisals often aren’t portable, meaning one lender can’t use another lenders appraisal.

  165. Matthew February 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm -

    Hey Colin,
    Lots of comments and questions above here, hopefully this is not redundant. My question: is there typically any difference in home values for owner vs lender ordered appraisals, other than what they can be used for? My situation is similar to the first one posted by John Gonzalez 11/10/14, I am going through a divorce and wanting to keep the house and pay her appropriate equity. We have to refi as she has the property sole and separate so I suggested we just get the refi app started and the lender ordered appraisal. She wants to have a separate owner ordered appraisal first (thus forcing me to have another for the refi) under her presumption that the appraisals would somehow be different in value. experience with this? any supporting documentation?? -THANKS in advance.

  166. Salyas February 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm -

    Hello Colin, I was trying to refinancing an FHA loan, my actual loan amount is $224,598, the lender want to do a conventional and changed already two times the numbers, last Loan estimate was that my loan amount will be $231,000 included the closing cost and the escrow. They ordered an appraisal, that I paid $475, and came out $375,000. The lender sent me the closing disclosure with $235,500 my loan amount with a closing cost increased for almost $4000. When I asked explanation they said that I told them that my house had a value of $385,000 so they have to charge me 0.728 points and other stuff. They didn’t send me a revise Loan estimate and my house is not under value. They keep calling me saying that I will save so much money and in six month I can refinancing with $0 closing cost. I don’t trust them and I want the money back from the appraisal, what I can do? Thank you.

  167. Colin Robertson February 17, 2017 at 9:37 am -


    Generally appraisers know a “value” beforehand that is tied to the loan application, then either affirm that value or come up with a different one (higher or lower). That might be tough in your situation as your wife will probably want something entirely objective. Just know that the appraisal she orders may differ in value from the one you get with the refi, and she should know it could be lower (or higher).

  168. Colin Robertson February 17, 2017 at 10:04 am -


    If your loan amount is only around $231k and value is around $375k, your LTV is very low, around 62%. That should give you a lot of options and the lowest rates, assuming you have good credit. May want to shop around with other lenders if you feel they’re giving you the runaround. Not sure what their appraisal fee refund policy is, may have to read what you signed. Good luck!

  169. Salyas February 17, 2017 at 7:51 pm -

    Thank you Colin!

  170. Keli Sweatta February 27, 2017 at 5:31 am -

    Move all of your valuables out of the home or temporarily put them in a closet (which is usually not photographed unless it adds significant value.)

    A buyer and buyers’ lender will not accept your plans as sufficient information for an appraisal.

    You are more vulnerable when listing and showing your home than getting an appraisal.

  171. cyndi March 20, 2017 at 5:34 pm -

    I applied for a home equity loan. My credit is not good but the credit union I went through said they would look over my credit and call me back to let me know if they will go through with appraisal. They called back the next day and ordered appraisal which they are paying for. They wouldn’t go all this way if my loan would not be approved would they? Only borrowing a small amount and they said as long as my home appraised for 50,000 which is will I will be OK. I am waiting for appraisal to call but just would love to hear you say that it looks good!!

  172. Colin Robertson March 21, 2017 at 7:59 am -


    If you aren’t worried about the appraisal coming in at value and that’s the only issue, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I know these things are nerve-wracking but you’ll get your answer soon. Good luck!

  173. Jessie April 30, 2017 at 4:24 pm -

    Hi Colin, have you heard of a lending institution waiving an appraisal and then financing based on the selling price? We bought a home in 2007 and there was no appraisal required. We bought the house in 2007 for $490K and were required to pay PMI. In 2010, we refinanced and had an appraisal that came in at $372K, so we are still paying PMI! We just can’t figure out why, looking back, did our original lender loan us such a large amount without an appraisal…and is this legit?

  174. Colin Robertson May 1, 2017 at 11:47 am -


    I doubt a lender wouldn’t use an appraisal – maybe the fee was paid by someone else? It just wouldn’t make sense for the lender to not independently assess the value of something they essentially own. The difference in price is likely because 2007 was a market peak for much of the country.

  175. Larry May 2, 2017 at 5:30 am -

    we had to switch lenders for our loan, from a bank to a Credit union. The appraisal had to be reassigned to the credit union, they charged us 350.00 on top of the 625.00 we already paid for the appraisal. We can’t figure out who just scammed us, the appraiser, the bank, or the Credit union?

  176. Colin Robertson May 2, 2017 at 7:23 pm -


    Unfortunately, most appraisals aren’t portable. Lenders have approved companies they work with that vary from bank to bank. It’s kind of like if a seller said his guy says the house is worth X, and you respond with, well, I want to get my own opinion of the value. Regardless, it’s no fun paying duplicate fees…

  177. scblack May 17, 2017 at 9:33 am -

    Hi Colin,

    We are in the middle of re-financing a home that we bought with an investment loan. Now that we have done our remodeling, we decided we wanted to keep the house and are set to sell the other in a just a few weeks. We originally paid $75,000 and are needing to re- finance around $70,000 now. The bank requested an appraisal that came in last week at $88,000. Now (two days before closing) the bank is saying that there is no way in 3 years the property value has gone up that much and they sent my husband a letter saying they are lowering the appraisal to $64,000. Can they do this just willy nilly?

  178. Colin Robertson May 20, 2017 at 7:07 am -

    I’ve seen it happen because ultimately the bank is extending the financing and has to be comfortable with the valuation. But it might be possible to contest it or ask them to get a second appraisal or BPO on their dime if you had to pay for the original appraisal.

  179. Jack Ron June 12, 2017 at 5:08 pm -

    We are refinancing with BofA. Amount owed is 160k. The company the bank hired appraised the house at 245k. We are still under the 80%,but we have seen recent sales in the area of 270k and up. Our house is well kept. How does a low appraisal in a refinance affect us?

  180. Colin Robertson June 13, 2017 at 7:38 am -


    There are often different pricing adjustments at certain LTV tiers such as 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, and so on. It sounds like you’re around 65% so there’s a good chance the lower value isn’t affecting your mortgage rate. You can ask the lender if there are any pricing hits on your loan and/or if pricing would improve if the value were higher.

  181. SD June 16, 2017 at 10:51 am -

    We’re selling our house in a hot market, listed it for $210,000 and were under contract for $215,000 within 48 hours. Appraisal came in on 6/2 and appraiser listed both the purchase price and appraisal value at $210,000 and for 14 days has refused to adjust (at least) the purchase price to the correct $215,000. Because it technically isn’t under-value I’m not allowed a copy of the appraisal report to dispute his findings, nor can we negotiate with the buyer until the appraiser fixes his mistake. He listed our home well within the range of comparibles but I think he’s so irritated at the buyer’s real estate agent for trying to contact him for 14 days that he’s refusing to do anything at all. What can we as sellers do?

  182. Nicky June 17, 2017 at 7:24 am -


    I currently have an FHA loan, I am considering to purchase a second home as a primary do to work as a conventional loan after being approved i recived an additional email saying my second home has to be 100 miles away from my current home to even consider it as a rental income.this is what the lenders requirements are? That seems to get I did some research and saw that it should be at least 50 mile radius not 100 .please advise.

  183. Colin Robertson June 19, 2017 at 9:38 pm -


    Hope that cooler heads prevail and everyone comes to their senses. Or the buyer might have to make up the difference if they want the house for $215k if the former doesn’t pan out.

  184. David Benavides August 8, 2017 at 9:15 am -

    I applied for a refinance with BoA everything was good
    except I did not want a 30 year loan, I paid for the
    appraisal ,the agent offered me another option which
    was to include my wife on this loan, every thing was the
    same except my wife was this loan. Again, he said
    another appraisal was needed, I paid for it, but no one
    has ever showed up or called to preform another
    appraisal. I have canceled my application with BoA and
    have asked for the cost of the second appraisal ,which
    was never done. can I expect a refund or not!

  185. Colin Robertson August 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm -


    If no one did the work you would expect a refund, but that doesn’t seem to be entirely clear. May want to get in touch with BofA directly to ensure you get refunded your money if the second appraisal never was completed.

  186. Ozzy August 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm -

    We are attempting to purchase a home and have a signed buy/sell agreement with sellers for the house with the purchase price of $265,000. In the other items section, the sale is stated to include a couple other items like a mower and kayaks. Our lendor is telling us that she thinks when it goes to underwriting, they will require a third-party appraisal of the “extra” items and that even if the house fully appraises for $265,000, we will be required to show up to closing with cash for the appraised value of the extra items. So we asked her if the underwriters do that, if we could file an amendment at that time to remove those items from the agreement and she said, “no, the underwriters will be on to you.” (whatever that means). Does this make any sense to you? It sounds fishy to us. Thank-you.

  187. Colin Robertson August 11, 2017 at 12:37 pm -


    That sounds strange, not sure why a home appraisal would be affected by items such as a mower and a kayak that have nothing to do with the value of the home, especially if they’re giving them away to you. Seems like a silly thing to get upset about or jeopardize a big purchase. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail.

  188. Bruce Collins September 15, 2017 at 8:51 am -

    I have a rental property that was appraised 9/15 and recently I had the same mortgage company ask me to refinance only to have the appraisal value drop over 30k? Received the appraisal yesterday. What are my options?

  189. Colin Robertson September 15, 2017 at 9:40 am -


    I outlined some of the options in the post, such as challenging the value, restructuring the deal, asking for a second opinion, etc. Could also apply elsewhere and hope for better, though additional costs. Good luck.

  190. Rick November 3, 2017 at 6:46 pm -

    Hi Colin, had a refinance of my home in April with appraisal coming in at 205k. Went back to the same bank, Quicken Loans, in October for another refinance and this time with appraisal coming back at 155k. How can that be so different?

  191. Colin Robertson November 3, 2017 at 8:06 pm -


    That seems peculiar; you may want to compare the appraisals side-by-side if you still have the original to see what comps were used and what else changed, and perhaps also ask the lender what the discrepancy is, as it appears to be quite glaring.

  192. christine November 10, 2017 at 7:46 am -

    Is there a downside to not having a house you are buying appraised? The mortgage Company is saying I can waive the appraisal.


  193. Colin Robertson November 10, 2017 at 10:30 am -


    A potential downside is paying too much for a house, but the lender would likely still do their diligence to ensure they aren’t financing an overvalued property. And buyers likely do their own research to ensure they’re comfortable with the purchase price.

Leave A Response