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June 22, 2017
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What to do if your low appraisal affects your real estate sale?

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Whether the real estate market is hot or cool, home buyers and sellers can get upset when the appraiser who is examining a home on behalf of the mortgage lender sets a value below the agreed-upon sales price.

What if your low appraisal affects your real estate sale? How should you handle the situation?

Appraising real estate is not a science. It is often subject to individual interpretation. If the appraisal comes in lower than you think it should, go to the appraiser and ask him to review his report. Point out any discrepancies -- such as three bathrooms instead of the reported two.

List of "gotchas" that lenders are using to catch "lazy and dishonest" appraisers.

Such traps that could trip an appraiser include:
  1. When an appraiser claims to have checked a particular source and found that there were no prior sales, when indeed there were some.
  2. When an appraiser claims to have read sales contracts but misses concessions that affect value.
  3. When an appraiser does not discuss how marketing issues such as a listing's length and price changes affect value. "If the contract price is higher than the last list price, the appraiser will need to discuss why that happened.

You should also ask for a complete copy of the appraisal report. Perhaps the appraiser did not fully do his homework. Did he physically inspect the property? Are the comparable sales that were used appropriate? Is the appraiser licensed in the jurisdiction where your unit is located, and does he know and understand the neighborhood conditions?

If the appraiser is unwilling to cooperate, ask your lender whether it is possible to get a second opinion from another appraiser.

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