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How Long Does a Home Appraisal Take?

Reviewed by: David Naimey

Approved by: Chad Turner

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A home appraisal timeline ranges between one and three weeks. In a hot licensed real estate market, you get an appraisal on the higher end of the range. 

A home appraisal is required by your lender to check the real value of the home you plan to buy. The lender wants to know that the amount of money they are lending you accurately mirrors the final appraised value of the home based on the market value. 

The professional home appraiser will make a home inspection on all interior and exterior, from roof and foundation to the basement size, insulation, structural foundation, quality of building, doors, windows, the HVAC system, and overall condition. Appraisers will write their final report based on comparable properties that were recently sold in the same area. They will then determine the value of the house, which should be very close to the amount of money your bank has agreed to lend you based on the purchase price.

How Long Does the Home Appraisal Process Take?

A home appraisal is required once the seller agrees to sell their home to you for an agreed price. The lender orders a home sale appraisal to ensure they are lending you the appropriate amount of money for that property. 

Here are the steps involved after that.

An appraiser is found: one to two days

The lender asks for a third-party appraiser to visit the property and write their report. This step can take between a couple of days to a week, depending on the workload of the appraiser. 

While the actual visit to the home only takes a few hours, it might take a few days for the appraiser to schedule their visit if they have many requests. 

The appraiser visits the property: a few hours

The appraiser visits the property and does a thorough tour. They will look throughout the home at every aspect that might influence the value of the home including extensions, add-ons, and improvements. The visit usually takes one to three hours to be completed. 

The appraiser writes their report: one week to 10 days 

The appraiser completes their report, which can take one to two weeks, again depending on their workload and the property itself. The appraiser will research home sales near your home to assess how much they sold for. This will give them a benchmark of how much your home is worth.

The appraiser then sends the report to your lender. 

What Happens After the Appraisal Report?

What comes next depends on what exactly the appraisal report found.

The report shows that the home value is more than the price you have agreed to pay

If the appraisal contingency comes in with a higher value than the sales price and loan amount, this is actually a very good position for the buyer. In mortgage terms, this means that the home appraised high, i.e. the value of the home already exceeds the price that the buyer is paying for it, which leads to instant equity. 

Let’s say you have agreed to pay $450,000 for a home but the appraisal report values the home at $475,000. You have $25,000 equity already. 

As a reminder, equity is the difference between the value of the home and the price of the home. If the value is higher than the price you paid for the home, there’s positive equity. If the value is lower than the sales price of the home, there’s negative equity.

There are plenty of benefits to having a property with positive equity, especially right after you buy a home. In most housing fair markets, your equity in your home slowly rises as you pay down your home as well as the price of the home itself slowly increasing.

The seller can’t back down from the agreed price, even if the appraisal report states that the value of the home is higher than the asked price. The sale will go through. 

The report shows that the home value is less than the price you have agreed to pay

If the appraisal report states that the property is not worth the agreed price, you have several options. 

You pay the difference from out-of-pocket money

Your lender will only agree to lend the money the home is worth. If you really want this particular property you can opt to pay the difference between the appraisal value and the money your bank is lending you. 

You ask for another appraisal

Appraisals can take from one to three weeks and can vary depending on real estate agents. If you feel that the property is worth more due to its square footage or its location, you can ask for a new appraisal. The new appraiser can review the existing report and perhaps have a different opinion about the home’s value, which will be closer to the agreed price.

Ask the seller to lower the price

You can ask the seller to lower the price to match the appraisal report. The seller is not obliged to do so, but you could negotiate with them. In some cases, seller and buyer can agree to split the difference: the seller lowers the price a little bit and you agree to pay a little more than the value on the appraisal report. 

How Much Does a Home Appraisal Cost?

The home appraisal comes typically from the mortgage lender, but the cost is covered by the home-buyer. While the cost of home appraisals can vary, it usually ranges between $400 and $500, depending on the Appraisal Management Company or AMC that is ordered to do the appraisal. 

Additionally, you might be asked to pay for a completion report, which is a follow-up report that is required if there are repairs that were needed, or further inspections that the appraiser was unable to perform. Completion reports cost around $175 and are also typically covered by the buyer.

What’s in a Home Appraisal?

The blank Appraisal Report form is 7 pages before any information is added. 

The first page has the legal description of the property being appraised, the borrower’s information, contact information, neighborhood and site information, and possible upgrades. This page includes general information about the property as well as the purchase contract. This includes the property address and parcel number, the buyer’s and seller’s names, zoning information, neighborhood information, and improvements. 

Page Two has the comparisons of up to three similar properties in the area. This comparison sales section is used to compare the values of similar homes in the neighborhood. This section also includes transfer dates and closing costs, which are necessary for certain types of loan programs and mortgage rates. 

Page Three has space for additional comments that the professional appraiser can use if they wish to identify any further information or recommended repairs based on on-site inspection. 

The Cost Approach gives the breakdown of the value and includes the economic remaining life of the home. This Economical Remaining Life number must meet or exceed the life of the loan. For example, if the home is being purchased for a term of 30 years, the economic life should read 30 or longer. If it is less, there’s a risk of your loan application being rejected.

Pages Four through Seven include the “Scope of an Appraiser’s Work” information. 

The Appraisal Report Is Important

The appraisal report by a professional real estate agent is an important step because both your lender and yourself need to know the real value of the new home. 

It takes two to three weeks for an appraisal report to reach your lender. Once the appraisal has been delivered, prepare to move forward with the purchase of the home. 

The home appraisal is necessary for the lender but also the potential homebuyer. When buying a home, you need to have a comparable sales report from a real estate appraiser. You want to be sure you are not overpaying or over-borrowing for a home that is not worth that amount of money. 

Trust Society Mortgage for Your Appraisal Report

Ready for peace of mind in your home-buying journey? Schedule an appraisal with a reliable real estate appraiser, find an agent, and take the first step toward your dream home with Society Mortgage. Our loan officers can help you navigate all the steps involved in a mortgage application. We are helpful, reliable, and professional. 

Call Society Mortgage today and make your homeownership dream come true!

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