A home appraisal will typically take anywhere from one to two weeks to complete from the time it is ordered. Each appraisal will be a little different, however, and a busy real estate market, rural location, or a number of other factors can affect the timing.
The appraisal is one of the final steps before a real estate contract closes, and it is anticipated with both nerves and excitement. What exactly is an appraisal though and why is it necessary? We will explore the steps and timing of a typical appraisal in this article and discuss factors and potential outcomes so you know what to expect.
So, What Is a Home Appraisal?
An appraisal is a property valuation conducted by a licensed professional appraiser to determine a home’s fair market value. Mortgage lenders will require an appraisal to be conducted for all homes they finance, including both purchase and refinancing.
The average cost for a home appraisal is usually between $300-$400, though the location and size of the property being appraised can cause the cost to increase. This cost will typically be paid by the buyer.
What Happens During a Home Appraisal?
While timing is not exactly the same for all home appraisals, there is a typical schedule that they follow. As mentioned above, the ordering of the appraisal to the delivery of the report usually takes between two to ten days. There are four main steps in the appraisal process.
Step 1: Schedule
The first step in the appraisal process is to schedule your appraisal, which is done by the mortgage lender. They will contact a licensed professional appraiser and request a walk-through.
How long will this usually take? 24-48 hours, but can be longer, depending on market demand and available appraisers.
Step 2: Walk-Through
Much like a home inspection, your appraiser will physically come to the home and do a walk-through, assessing the overall property condition and making note of any issues or new additions.
How long will this usually take? 30 minutes - 3 hours, depending on the size, location, and condition of the property.
Step 3: Research
Once the physical walk-through has been completed, your appraiser will conduct market research to compare the property to similar recently sold homes in the area. They will use this comparative market analysis to help decide the market value of the home.
The appraiser will also look at property records and data from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for background and legal information about the property and local real estate market.
How long will this usually take? 1-2 days, depending on the property, local market, and skill level of the appraiser.
Step 4: Preparing the Report
The final step in the appraisal process is for the appraiser to take all information they learned during the walk-through and their research and create a detailed report. This report, which is typically around ten pages, will give the appraiser’s estimate of the fair market value for the home, along with details explaining how they arrived at that number.
How long will this usually take? 2-7 days, depending on the appraiser’s workload and how complex the appraisal report needs to be.
What Factors Impact Your Appraisal?
An appraiser will take many factors into consideration to estimate the property value, including market research of other homes in the area, the home’s general condition, and any improvements made to the property by the current or previous owners. The most common factors considered include:
* Factor 1: Size. The size of the property, including the square footage of the home and the size of the lot will be noted.
* Factor 2: Age and Condition. An appraiser will inspect the overall age and condition of the home, looking for existing issues, potential issues, and repairs that need to be made.
* Factor 3: Upgrades and Additions. If the current owner of the property has made upgrades, such as installing new flooring, building a deck, or redoing an outdated bathroom, those new features will be factored in as well.
* Factor 4: Curb Appeal. The overall appearance of the home and the condition of the landscaping will also affect the appraisal value.
* Factor 5: Neighborhood and Location. The appraiser will investigate the general location of the property and the neighborhood, taking into account the overall condition of homes in the area, as well as nearby amenities like grocery stores, schools, and commute times to major roadways.
* Factor 6: Comparables. Recent home sales in the area, usually those sold within a year, will also be used to determine a home’s market value.
* Factor 7: Current Market Conditions. An appraiser will also consider both the current conditions and projected conditions of the local housing market when writing an appraisal report.
* Factor 8: Legal Entanglements. They will also conduct research to ascertain whether the property has any legal issues, including liens, zoning violations, and unpaid property taxes.
What Can Delay An Appraisal?
One of the most common reasons for a delayed appraisal is how active the local real estate market is. In a “hot” market, appraisals are often delayed because there are simply not enough available appraisers to handle the current workload.
Another common reason why an appraisal might be delayed is scheduling conflicts with the property owner or seller’s agent. The appraiser will need to gain access to the home in order to complete the appraisal report. If they are unable to schedule that access quickly, it will mean a delay in receiving the final report.
How Do I Prepare for an Appraisal?
As the property owner, you can prepare for an upcoming appraisal the same way you would prepare to put your home on the market, or for a home inspection. It is important that the appraiser see your property at its best.
Give everything a thorough cleaning and make cosmetic touch-ups where possible. That said, you should never try to hide an issue from an appraiser (it wouldn’t work anyway).
Look around your home as if you were a stranger and make note of any easy fixes that negatively catch your eye. As an example, you can finish any half-completed home improvement projects, power wash your siding, and replace cracked outlet covers if you haven’t already.
Another great preparation step is to make a list of all improvements or additions you have made to the property to give to the appraiser. While these will often increase the overall appraised value of the home, sellers should be aware that they won’t always fully recoup the cost of the improvements.
What Happens After an Appraisal?
Once the appraisal report is completed, it will be delivered to the mortgage lender who ordered the report. Depending on what the appraisal report says, this could positively or negatively affect the contract.
If a home appraises at or above the contract price, the financing will be finalized and both parties will be able to proceed to the closing.
A mortgage lender will not agree to lend more than the home is worth. So, if a home is appraised for less than the contract price, there are options that will have to be considered.
Whether you are the buyer or seller, it is important to speak with your Realtor about all of your options before making a decision.
The first option is that the buyers and sellers could choose to renegotiate the contract based on the appraised value. This could mean the sellers offer to pay closing costs, or lower the contract price, and/or the buyers agree to make a higher down payment to compensate for the difference.
Another option is that the buyers could agree to pay the difference out of pocket. In a hot seller’s market, where homes are selling well above their appraised market value, this may be a more common outcome.
The sellers could also choose to dispute the appraised value. By reviewing the detailed report it may be found that the comparable properties were not accurate, the square footage was off, or certain upgrades were not taken into account.
The least desirable outcome, but one that does happen from time to time, is that the contract falls through due to lack of financing and the home goes back on the market. A low appraisal is not an insurmountable obstacle in a real estate contract, but it will complicate things and will have to be addressed.
The appraisal process is a vital step in any real estate transaction that involves financing. While it can be nerve-wracking, it doesn’t need to be approached with fear. As a seller, you can be confident that your Realtor is skilled at knowing how to determine a fair market value for your home, so appraising at your asking price should not be an issue. With a little prep work, you can be sure that your property is valued as highly as possible.
As a buyer, the appraisal ensures that your investment is a sound one and will give you valuable information about the state of the property. It is one of the final steps to closing on your new home and should be looked forward to with excitement!
If you are thinking about buying or selling real estate in the central Texas area, we would love to help you. Visit us online at homecity.com to get started today.
How long after appraisal will I know? ›
An appraisal usually takes around 1 to 2 weeks, total. In some circumstances, it could take up to a month. The timeline can vary based on the availability of appraisers and how busy the real estate market is in your area (more on this below).What takes so long for an appraisal? ›
The lender will order the appraisal
The response time also depends on the current housing market and interest rates. “When interest rates are higher, slower times, you can get the appraisal back in a matter of days. So it can be a matter of days to weeks, depending on the market conditions,” Cullen says.
Some common problems that can lower an appraised value include miscalculation of square footage or failure to include out buildings or recent renovations.What all do they look at during an appraisal? ›
The appraiser will consider all factors that could affect the property's value. These factors include the condition of the property, any upgrades or additions made to the property, the size of the lot and “comps” or recently sold properties of comparable size and condition in the same market.What happens after appraisal comes back good? ›
If all goes well, the appraisal gets slipped into the pile of paperwork and the closing process takes one step forward. The next step is mortgage underwriting. The underwriter reviews the entire loan file to make sure everything is in order and that all the required documents have been submitted.What is the next step after the appraisal comes back? ›
As such, the next step that will occur is the mortgage underwriting process. The underwriter will assess the risk level associated with the loan and use the appraisal report to approve or deny a loan based on risk.Does yard affect appraisal? ›
The curb appeal and general landscaping of the home also impacts the home appraisal value. If your home lacks curb appeal it could lower the value of the home. On the other hand if your yard is filled with hard to care for plants and a hazardous dead tree this could also negatively affect your home appraisal value.What if appraisal is lower than offer? ›
If a lender's appraisal comes in lower than the offer price, a buyer can withdraw their offer without any penalties. Contingencies are clauses in a home sale agreement that protect the buyer in case certain conditions are or aren't met.Why would a lender cancel an appraisal? ›
Lenders might waive a new in-person appraisal because the home's market value was calculated so recently. The same can be said for refinancing a home. If little time has passed since the original appraisal, a lender may be willing to waive the in-person appraisal when refinancing.What hurts a home appraisal the most? ›
What negatively affects a home appraisal? One of the big things that can have a negative affect is the age and condition of the home's systems (HVAC, plumbing) and appliances. If the local market is declining, that'll also hurt your home's appraised value.
Will a messy house affect an appraisal? ›
If you are ready to have your home appraised, you should address any significant issues that may affect your home's value—such as damaged flooring, outdated appliances, and broken windows. A messy home should not affect an appraisal, but signs of neglect may influence how much lenders are willing to let you borrow.How do I prepare my home for an appraisal? ›
- Do your own research. ...
- Provide proof of upgrades. ...
- Inspect the interior and exterior of the home. ...
- Improve your curb appeal. ...
- Make sure your decor and home improvements aren't too personalized. ...
- Clean up messes and clutter.
Just keep your communication to the appraiser about the facts of the home and neighborhood, how you priced the house, and any other relevant information you think the appraiser should know. And remember, don't discuss value. Don't pressure the appraiser to 'hit the value' and you'll be fine.Do they take pictures during a home appraisal? ›
While conducting the appraisal, the appraiser will take pictures of all rooms in the home, the garage, and the outside of the home. They will also measure the home and examine its overall condition, upgrades, amenities, and any other aspects of the home of note.What should I do before an appraiser comes? ›
Collect important documents for the appraiser - These could include a land survey that verifies property size, proof of your home's most recent sale price and a list of recent improvements complete with receipts. Prepare for the visit - Clear clutter and contain pets to make the inspection easier for the appraiser.Can you get denied after appraisal? ›
The Appraisal Is Too Low
If the appraisal value comes back lower than the sale price, you'll either need to pay the difference out of pocket or renegotiate to a lower price. If you can't do either, your loan will be denied.
The appraisal is one of the last steps in the mortgage process; first, borrowers should learn about what they qualify for.Do appraisals usually come back low? ›
Low home appraisals do not occur often. According to Fannie Mae, appraisals come in low less than 8 percent of the time, and many of these low appraisals are renegotiated higher after an appeal, Graham says. How often a home appraisal comes in low generally depends on the neighborhood and market conditions.Do you get a raise after an appraisal? ›
A performance appraisal does not always result in an automatic salary increase. The employee's overall performance and salary level relative to position responsibilities must be evaluated to determine whether a salary increase is warranted.What do underwriters do after appraisal? ›
After a professional appraiser places a value on the property, the underwriter compares the appraisal to the amount of your mortgage. If the home is worth much less than the mortgage, your underwriter may suspend your application.
Do appraisers turn on faucets? ›
Water pressure must be adequate for the house. Appraisers flush toilets, turn on all faucets and ensure that both hot and cold water are working.What adds most value to a house? ›
- Remodel the kitchen. Updates to the kitchen pay off. ...
- Upgrade the appliances. ...
- Boost the bathrooms. ...
- Remodel the attic or basement. ...
- Get decked out. ...
- Boost curb appeal. ...
- Improve energy efficiency.
Appraisers will also look closely and itemize all appliances and fixtures installed in the home, including the dishwasher, refrigerator, washer/dryer, oven, and others. The appraiser will also be very interested in any improvements you made to your home, as well as the quality of those improvements.Do appraisals usually come in at asking price? ›
Most appraisals come in at the right price. According to Fannie Mae, in general, appraisals come in below contract only about 8% of the time. That average was skewed in May 2021, when about 20% of home appraisals came in lower than the sales price – perhaps as a result of the pandemic.Can I ask for lower price after appraisal? ›
Negotiating is always an option after a low appraisal. Talk to the home buyer and their real estate agent about making up the difference (aka appraisal gap). The buyer can either make a larger down payment, or you and the buyer can each pay a part of the shortfall. Both are valid options.Is Zillow estimate accurate? ›
How accurate is the Zestimate? The nationwide median error rate for the Zestimate for on-market homes is 2.4%, while the Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.49%. The Zestimate's accuracy depends on the availability of data in a home's area.How do I impress an appraiser? ›
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. We cannot emphasise this enough. ...
- Learn to listen. Often employees go into their appraisal with a list of things they want to say, but it is equally important to listen to what your appraiser is saying. ...
- Stay professional. ...
- Mind your body language. ...
- Collect testimonials.
Appraisers are looking in your closets not to evaluate storage space but because they can sometimes count the closet towards square footage.Does carpet affect appraisal? ›
If most of the recently sold homes in your area have carpet, then they'll price your home accordingly. Always consider this before you perform upgrades to your home. Appraisers are reluctant to price your home out of the surrounding market.Do appraisers check sinks? ›
Yes, the appraiser will look under your sinks to ensure there isn't any water damage or problems hiding. No need to clear out any under-sink storage but do make sure it is clean and accessible.
Does cleaning help an appraisal? ›
Deep Clean Like Never Before
Having your home sparkling clean will surely impress a home appraiser! Everyone prefers a clean and tidy home. So do yourself and the appraiser a favor and make sure you give your home a thorough cleaning before the appraiser comes.
Pro Tip: When focusing on what appraisers look for inside your house, don't focus too much on your home's décor. Your property's overall condition, layout, and size impact its appraisal more than your décor or your furniture do.Should I stay home during appraisal? ›
“In general, it's nice to have somebody there as long as they don't interfere with the process,” said Graham. “Be there to answer questions and provide necessary access, but just know when to keep your distance and let the appraiser do their work.”What increases home value on appraisal? ›
4 Ways to Strengthen Your Home's Refinance Appraisal Value. Appraisal values can make or break a refinance application. Fresh paint, new flooring, updated fixtures and a good cleaning can lead to a more favorable assessment.How can I avoid low appraisal on my house? ›
The best way to outright avoid getting a low appraisal is to use a local lender who really knows the area and can make sure that the best appraisers are selected. Bring in a larger down payment so you can bridge a gap that a low appraisal causes.Does paint affect appraisal? ›
Yes, it can absolutely affect your resale value! Online real estate giant, Zillow, has conducted paint color analyses like this one over the past few years to determine which exterior and interior paint colors add the most value to your home during resale.Do appraisers look for mold? ›
Water damage and mold are two things that appraisers will be looking closely for. So, you'll want to hire a mold remediation company that repairs any water damage and mildew left behind.What questions do home appraisers ask? ›
- 1) How long have you owned the home? ...
- 2) Was the last sale an arm's length transaction? ...
- 3) Have you made any improvements to the home since buying it? ...
- 4) Have you listed the home for sale recently? ...
- 5) What would you consider the top-selling points for your neighborhood? ...
Can I speak to the appraiser? Yes! Regulations allow real estate agents, or other persons with an interest in the real estate transaction, to communicate with the appraiser and provide additional property information, including a copy of the sales contract.Will an appraiser move furniture? ›
During the course of his inspection, the appraiser will not move furniture, peer under floor coverings or behind artwork to uncover potentially hidden defects.
How long does it take for an underwriter to make a decision? ›
How long does underwriting take? The underwriting process typically takes between three to six weeks. In many cases, a closing date for your loan and home purchase will be set based on how long the lender expects the mortgage underwriting process to take.What happens if appraisal is higher than offer? ›
If A House Is Appraised Higher Than The Purchase Price
You're in a good situation if this happens. It simply means that you've agreed to pay the seller less than the home's market value. Your mortgage amount does not change because the selling price will not increase to meet the appraisal value.
Tip #1: Don't Apply For Any New Credit Lines During Underwriting. Any major financial changes and spending can cause problems during the underwriting process. New lines of credit or loans could interrupt this process. Also, avoid making any purchases that could decrease your assets.How fast can an underwriter approve a loan? ›
Underwriting—the process by which mortgage lenders verify your assets, check your credit scores, and review your tax returns before they can approve a home loan—can take as little as two to three days. Typically, though, it takes over a week for a loan officer or lender to complete the process.Can a loan fall through during underwriting? ›
Yes. Many lenders use third-party “loan audit” companies to validate your income, debt and assets again before you sign closing papers. If they discover major changes to your credit, income or cash to close, your loan could be denied.Do sellers get to see appraisal? ›
The seller often does not generally get a copy of the appraisal, but they can request one. The CRES Risk Management legal advice team noted that an appraisal is material to a transaction and like a property inspection report for a purchase, it needs to be provided to the seller, whether or not the sale closes.Does cleanliness affect a home appraisal? ›
The short answer is “no, a messy home should not affect the outcome of an appraisal.” However, it's good to be aware that there are circumstances in which the state of your home can negatively affect its value. Let's go over what appraisals entail and what factors can influence them.How often does a home appraisal come in low? ›
How often do home appraisals come in low? Low home appraisals do not occur often. According to Fannie Mae, appraisals come in low less than 8 percent of the time, and many of these low appraisals are renegotiated higher after an appeal, Graham says.Can loan be denied after appraisal? ›
Most mortgage lenders won't approve a loan for more than the home's value, so appraisal issues can lead to mortgage loan denial even if you've already been preapproved. For example, if you want to borrow $150,000 and the appraisal indicates the home is only worth $140,000, your application may be denied.Can a loan fall through after appraisal? ›
If the home appraisal or inspection comes back to your lender and they aren't satisfied with it, they could deny your loan. If a home is appraised for less than the agreed-upon amount, this could hold up the process. Lenders don't approve loans for more money than the home is appraised at.