If you ask an appraiser, “what’s the most frequently asked question you get just as you’re about to leave a house”, I bet 99% of appraisers would respond with the following:
Now, how long does it take to get the appraisal results back?
Or some iteration of that question.
It’s what’s on most homeowner’s minds as the appraiser is leaving. They’ve discussed with the appraiser all the updates, confirmed the lot size, watched the appraiser measure and photograph the home…there’s only one thing left. The waiting. And everyone wants to know how long they’re going to have to wait. Maybe they have a rate lock that’s about to expire on their refinance. Or perhaps they’re quickly approaching the closing date they and they’re buyer discussed and they’re wondering if they’re going to be able to make closing. Either way, it is a frequently asked question, and we’re going to answer it with two simple words:
Here’s why. The time it can take to get appraisal results can vary greatly depending on a ton of different factors. If the property is complex, it can take longer to complete the report; if data is scarce, it could extend the turn time because the appraiser will need to spend more time digging up relevant information; some banks require more of the appraiser in terms of analysis and reporting than others, and then there’s just the appraiser’s overall workload that can influence the time it takes to complete an appraisal. Right now, most appraisers aren’t too busy, so often once an appraiser leaves the home, the report could be completed that same day or the next day, if they don’t have any other appointments!
But let me give you at least a couple of general appraisal industry standards. Usually, a typical residential appraisal can take anywhere from 2-3 days to 2-3 weeks to complete. Complex residential appraisals, multi-family appraisals and commercial appraisals will likely take longer, but there’s not much of a reason why a simple single family residential appraisal should take more than a couple weeks to complete – especially in today’s slower market.
Now, just a couple quick words on the process, in general. After the appraiser visits the home and gathers all the information about the property, then comes more analysis and research, and finally, the appraiser writes up the appraisal report and opines on the property’s value.
Once the appraiser has the report written, the appraisal is sent to the client. After they receive the report, it usually takes another few hours to a few days for them to review the appraisal. Sometimes, there’s a company in the middle between the appraiser and lender, called an Appraisal Management Company or AMC for short. If there is, and if they do a detailed review, that process could add more time to the overall delivery process. And, during this review process, if the AMC or lender needs the appraiser to correct errors, elaborate on a comment, or revise any one of 1,000 items in the appraisal, then it will take just a little bit longer before the appraisal reaches the loan officer’s desk.
So let me wrap it all up by telling you what I generally say to a homeowner who asks how long it will take. Unless I know that the report isn’t due for two weeks and I’m leaving for a one-week beach vacation the next day, I’ll say something like, “It usually takes around a week or so. By next Wednesday, if you haven’t heard from your loan officer, you might want to give them a call to see if they’ve heard anything.” What this does is gives the homeowner a rough time frame, but doesn’t say “the report will be done tomorrow.” If you’re an appraiser, I highly recommend you not say anything like that. Because inevitably, something will go wrong, you’ll get delayed, and then the homeowner will call you angry that their loan officer hasn’t gotten the appraisal yet!
It’s important to note one last thing and that is that some AMCs and lenders put restrictions on appraisers so that we’re instructed to not talk about the process with anyone. That means we can’t discuss value, the cost of the appraisal, or the process – such as what happens after the site visit. So don’t worry if the next time the appraiser doesn’t explain much. It may be that they’ve been told not to. With this information, though, you should have all you need to know how long you’ll have to wait to hear about the results of your appraisal.