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VIDEO: 4 Appraisal Questions All Buyer’s Agents Should Ask

Buyer’s agents: Don’t forget to ask these four questions when your appraisal arrives.

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Getting into a new home can be exciting and nerve-wracking. You have a lot to consider and a big decision to make! By the time you’ve chosen a home and submitted an offer on it, both you and the seller are holding your breath for what comes next: the appraisal. As a buyer, these four questions will make your end of the appraisal process a little less stressful.

The Purpose of the Appraisal

Appraisals ensure an impartial analysis of the value of the property at hand. This is useful for all parties involved, but is particularly useful for the buyer and the lender. Appraisals help to ensure that buyers don’t pay more for a home than it’s worth and help lenders decide how much to lend to their clients. If a home comes in under value, lenders will lower their loan offer, ensuring that they don’t loan more than the client needs. Typically, the appraiser is hired by the lender and paid for by the buyer.

Questions You Should Be Asking

When the appraisal arrives, there are a few key questions the buyer and buyer’s agent should be asking! First and most importantly, did the house come in at value? If the house did not come in at value, you’ll need to figure out why and address this with your lender. Your lender will not approve your original loan amount if it is more than the value of the home.

Secondly, you should pay special attention to the wording of your appraisal. Specifically, you should ask, is it “as is” or “subject to?” If an item is listed “as is,” the value represents the home in its current condition. If an item is listed as “subject to,” the value is dependent on that item being fixed, replaced, or whatever changes need to be made to that item. This means that there’s work to be done, and all parties involved need to agree who will be responsible for making this work.

Thirdly, are there any pictures or remarks on the report that can cause concern? Anything that could make an underwriter uncomfortable should be addressed to improve the chances of your final approval for the loan. An underwriter will ultimately make the final decision on your loan approval once they compare the appraisal to the amount of the mortgage.

And finally, has the underwriter signed off on the appraisal? If all goes well and there are no elements that cause concern, everything is listed “as is,” and the home comes in at value, the final step is for the underwriter to sign off on the paperwork. Once the paperwork is signed, the appraisal is complete!

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