Everything you need to know about how appraisals can effect your home buying or selling experience.
As you may or may not know, buying or selling a home is complicated. Inspections, appraisals, contract law, multiple offers… Unless you want to become an expert in Real Estate, you should probably work with an experienced and proven Realtor to ensure the process is successful. A lot of people don’t know all of the services their Real Estate Agent provide (or should provide) so I’d like to cover a different topic every week on how I put you in the strongest negotiating position possible from beginning to end. Let’s get started!
What is an appraisal? Remember when you met with the lender and they went over all your financials in order to see how much house you could afford? The process can be intense but it’s essential because without a loan, most people couldn’t afford to buy a house. An appraisal is how the Lender qualifies the property. They may have already approved you for the loan, but they must also approve their collateral. They want to make sure the house you’re buying is worth what you’re paying for it, or the loan is not worth the risk and they won’t do it.
If the appraisal determines that your house is worth the contract price, the lender will continue towards closing and all is well. But if the appraisal determines the house is not worth what the buyer is paying, the bank will not give you a loan for the entire amount of the house… either the seller must reduce their price or the buyer will have to bring “cash to the table” to make up the difference. Basically, another negotiation period ensues. Although low appraisals aren’t very common in our market, it happens, and all parties should be ready when it does.
One of the things I do for my clients, either buyer or seller, is meet the appraiser at the property. I bring favorable comps, or information about the house that they may not know like upgrades and remodeling information. This helps support the price and makes the process easier for the appraiser. It also doesn’t hurt to be nice and accommodatingJ. I have found that being at the property, answering questions, showing the appraiser things they may not have seen, gives us the best chance that the appraisal will “come in at value”. This is what all parties are hoping for. If there’s anything I can do to help the transaction close, I’ll do it. I’m afraid this practice isn’t necessarily common amongst all Real Estate agents. Some don’t want to spend the time, and some think it won’t make any difference… I’m not one of those agents.
In this intense “seller’s market”, where multiple offers are driving prices way up, I worry a little about appraisals coming in low. If you’re the seller, it could mean losing thousands of dollars or killing the deal completely, and if you’re the buyer, it could mean losing your dream home. Meeting the appraiser is just one of the things I do during the transaction to put you in the strongest negotiation position possible and ensure a smooth closing.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling your home, you can contact me anytime and I’ll be happy to meet up to talk about your options. If you’d like to speak to a Lender about your ability to qualify for a loan, I highly recommend Peggy Masterson of Caliber Home Loans and you can visit her website for more information on financing and getting pre-approved.