One of the most common questions homeowners ask is “when can I get a copy of my appraisal?” or “Can you tell me how much it appraised for?” In this blog post, we briefly examine the answer to these questions. And, if you’ve read past blog posts, you’ll know that the answer is… you guessed it… it depends.
When can an appraiser give you the appraisal?
If you call me up tomorrow and say, “Ryan, I’m putting my home up for sale, and want to get it appraised first.” Great! You are now my favorite client because people like you understand the importance of getting an independent and unbiased opinion of the value of your home. Way to go! In this case, you are my client. I’m going to come out to your home, collect all the usual information, and back at my office, complete the appraisal report. And, when I’m done, I’m going to email you a copy of the appraisal! That’s right. I’ll send it right to you. Because you engaged me to do work for you. In our pre-appraisal discussion, we determined that you would be considered the client and that you wanted a copy emailed to you, so that’s what we did. Easy peasy.
In this scenario, if you have questions about the report, you can call me or email me, and we’ll gladly discuss any question you have. This report is for you and you only (unless we listed other users). That means that it doesn’t get sent to a bank, attorney, or even the dreaded tax assessor!
But this scenario isn’t the one most homeowners find themselves in.
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When can an appraiser NOT give you the appraisal?
Most homeowners, when they interact with an appraiser, it’s because they’re either buying or selling a property or perhaps refinancing their mortgage. If you’re a seller, you almost never see the appraisal, unless the buyer wants to show it to you. If the home appraised for more than sale price, the buyer might be a little reluctant to show the appraisal to you! But, since most people who ask this question are buyers, or homeowners going through the refinancing process, we’ll focus the rest of our attention there.
The following scenario applies to both purchase and refinance appraisals, as the process is very similar for both.
Mark is buying the home listed for sale at 3400 Pleasant View Acres. He only has 20% to put down on the purchase and will finance the rest with ABC Bank. The bank orders the appraisal from Riverfront Appraisals, and once the report is complete, we email the appraisal back to ABC Bank. Mark paid in advance for the appraisal, but even then – he cannot get a copy from the appraiser. In this situation, ABC Bank is our client and the only party to whom we can send the finished appraisal. Unless you signed a waiver stating you didn’t want a copy of the appraisal (don’t do that!), you should receive a copy at least a few days prior to loan closing.
“BUT I PAID FOR THE APPRAISAL!” This may be the most common objection we hear after explaining the process to a homeowner. So here are two things to remember when you find yourself with this objection:
- The appraisal is not for you. The bank ordered the appraisal for them. They want to make a lending decision about your home, and they need an appraisal for that purpose.
- The cost of the appraisal is just another cost of financing a home with someone else’s money. So even though you paid for an appraisal on your home, that appraisal belongs to the bank.
Since the bank is our client, they are the only ones to whom we can send a report, and they are the only ones with whom we can discuss the appraisal. If Mark has any questions about the appraisal (especially value-related), he should take those questions to the bank, and they can get in touch with us. Sometimes, the bank will allow us to speak with the borrower, but that permission must be granted by the bank before any conversation between borrower and appraiser can take place.
So there you have it! If you’ve ever wondered “can I get a copy of my appraisal?” or even thought “but I paid for the appraisal! I should be able to get a copy!”, you’re not alone. These are common questions and feelings. Hopefully, this blog post has cleared up when an appraiser can and cannot give out a copy of the appraisal report.
If you’re a homeowner curious about what your home is worth today and are finding it difficult to know who to trust with so many ‘valuation experts’ out there today, give us a call. We specialize in providing independent, unbiased, and objective opinions of value, and we’re more than happy to help you!
Helping homeowners navigate the appraisal process,
Ryan Bays, SRA, AI-RRS