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When to Order an Appraisal

An Appraisal Is Always Needed to Obtain a Mortgage

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Upon deciding on a property, and thinking that they are benefiting in the long run, many prospective home buyers seeking an appraisal will foolishly request that the appraiser inflate the value of the property in question. They think that they will have a better chance of securing the mortgage loan that they need, and at better rates and terms, if the lender feels the price is a very good one relative to the value of the property in question. However, for the most part, mortgage companies are also seeking appraisals in order to validate the true value of a given property before issuing a loan and only after the purchase price has been agreed to.

Typically a mortgage lender will be concerned with the aspects of the home loan that affect them and not the purchaser. After all, they are in business and prudence dictates that they make money and protect their investment at the same time. Appraisers are only required to be responsible to the mortgage company, if they are the one requesting an assessment of a property’s value.

The mortgage company’s priorities are as follows:

  1. They have only two ways to recuperate their money, the property itself and the home buyer’s ability to repay the loan in a timely fashion.
  2. Is the loan insured or guaranteed by the government?
  3. The buyers responsibility is based solely on his ability to repay and not the perceived or real value of the property in question
  4. Is a separate, private policy in force if more than eighty percent of the property's value has been borrowed?
  5. Regardless of the loan to value ratio, the buyer must still feel obligated to satisfy the mortgage loan agreement in full.

Appraisals Are Not Just for Mortgage Loan Purposes

As we mentioned previously, a true and accurate appraisal is to everyone’s benefit. Appraisals are not only needed or advantageous during the time of purchase and seeking a loan. Here are several other useful ways that an accurate, and up-to-date appraisal, is to your benefit:

  1. The replacement cost of your property, less the land for insurance purposes, is often the reason for an appraisal. If an insurance agent is trying to determine the replacement value of your home, and it is not the type of property that they are accustomed to, they will seek an appraisal; especially if the insurable value does not seem to be representative of the current local market value for a home of your type. A further reason to seek an appraisal, relative to insurance, is if you are being asked to pay an annual increase in your insurance premium that you feel is not commensurate with the true value of your home. If this is the case, you will need to seek an appraisal to show that the newly requested premium is not realistic and unfair.
  2. If there is a death, the Internal Revenue Service will ask for an appraisal to establish the worth of the estate in question, and the survivors will be seeking a conservative appraisal to offset their tax liability as heirs.
  3. If the government has condemned your property, in order to purchase it for public use, they will seek an appraisal in order to establish what they feel is a fair price to offer in compensation. If the owner feels he is not being offered a just amount for the property being condemned he should also seek a separate appraisal that will hopefully favor them. If after negotiating, the condemning authority and the property owner are still in disagreement, the case must be settled in court. At this time it is especially in the home owner's favor to have a good assessment taken. During the litigation process both appraisers will be asked to, not defend those who have requested the appraisals, but the appraisals themselves. The cost of having an appraisal done on your behalf will be more than compensated for in the price that you are able to receive from the condemning authority.
  4. Finally, an appraisal may be sought by a property owner to contest a tax hike that is perceived to be unreasonable. Considering that the tax rate in certain communities is quite high, the investment in an appraisal may be well worth it when amortized over a period of several years of tax payments.

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