How long does it take to complete an appraisal?

I’ve heard rumblings recently about appraisers taking way too long to complete their work. In fact, last week I had an out-of-state real estate agent call me to talk about what she might do since escrow was scheduled to close, but the appraiser had been sitting on the report for nearly twenty days. Sound familiar at all?

How long does it take? Some appraisal assignments are complex and they may need a matter of weeks to really do a thorough job. But in these cases, the client should know the complexity of the assignment and has probably already agreed to a longer-than-typical timeline or extended the original timeline. For example, I am working on a file right now where the house has had very extensive fire damage, which requires more research on my end. It’s not your “48 hour special” so to speak.

What about standard tract house appraisals though? In my experience most of these can comfortably be handled in 5 business days unless an appraiser is not carrying any other work and can complete them sooner. Remember, appraisers are balancing a number of assignments all at the same time and they need time to coordinate an inspection, research the market and make contact with quite a few local agents. Most of my lender clients tend to want appraisal reports back in seven calendar days (sometimes less), while private parties often expect the same (or more or less depending on their circumstances and the reason for the appraisal).

What about “rush” appraisals? There is a time and place for “rush” assignments because clients need them to post bail, for tax deadlines, court, estate planning, escrow or whatever the reason. I understand that and I bend like a gymnast for clients when needed (like tonight I’m finishing a “rush” assignment). However, I will say in principle a fast job does not necessarily mean a job well done. Call me anal, but unless I’m at the car wash or buying a cup of coffee, I’m not a huge fan of “quick” as a main platform as it can sometimes attempt to compensate for lower quality. Ultimately it seems “quick” is outweighed by things like experience, accuracy, quality, dependability and service. But are appraisals still needed quickly? Yes, of course they are. I think you get my point though.

Tip: In short, if you hire an appraiser to complete an appraisal for you, make sure to ask the appraiser when the report will be in your hands and get it in writing. It may be helpful to understand general timelines as I mentioned above, but make sure to share any deadlines you have and ask the appraiser if those specific deadlines can realistically be met.

What would you recommend for someone to do in a situation where an appraiser is taking way too long to complete a standard assignment?

If you have any questions, or real estate appraisal or property tax appeal needs in the Greater Sacramento Region, contact Lundquist Appraisal by phone 916-595-3735, email, Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to posts by email.

Comments

  1. Heather says

    We are running out of time on waiting for our appraisal. We have already put in notice to vacant the place we rent but the hold up is with the appraisal and our fear is that our closing date will keep getting pushed back and if it does, that leaves us homeless. How often does this happen where one is left living out of a storage facility while waiting to close due to this hang up? I’m also scared that a little thing like maybe an outlet not having a protective cover will keep us from getting our FHA loan. Just seems like there are too many variables that could cause it all to go wrong even after having bank approval especially if you are buying a bank owned house.

    • says

      Heather, I really hope your situation works out. On top of the appraisal coming back in a hopefully timely manner, I hope the value is something that does not create issues too. The loan approval process can happen early on, but it can take some time to close escrow, especially depending on how fast the bank responds and negotiates as issues come up. Typically it seems appraisers get anywhere from 4-7 days in my area to complete an appraisal for a typical loan transaction. Most of my clients give me 7 days unless they order a rush. Hoping it works out. Hang in there.

  2. says

    Our appraisal for a VA mortgage loan was completed almost two weeks ago. Our loan document specialist (who appears to be new or incompetent but says he is just over-worked) says he still does not have the appraisal and we close in less than a week. I’m anxious as our current home has someone scheduled to move in the day after we close so we really need to close on time. We gave the lender 2 weeks longer than they said they needed and they are still not ready. Shouldn’t the appraisal have gotten to the lender by now?

    • says

      Hi Amy. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I assume you mean the house was inspected two weeks ago. I’d be surprised if the appraiser did not yet complete the report, though depending on where your location, appraisers may be really backed up. Sometimes there is a delay from the appraisal getting to the lender from the Appraisal Management CompanY (third party that orders the appraisal). Ultimately here are some questions you can ask your lender:

      1) When is (or was) the due date for the appraisal? Find out how long the lender or AMC gave the appraiser to complete the report.
      2) What are you going to do to help the appraisal be completed right away? (pay a rush fee if you really need to).

      I hope it all works out. Hang in there.

      • says

        You won’t believe this….but as of 9pm last night our loan document specialist said he did not have our appraisal but this morning in our mail….there was a copy of our appraisal from the lending bank!! Since he WORKS for the lending bank you can imagine my suprise and confusion! So I emailed him and told him I had received it and offered to email him a copy so he could get it to underwriting today. Unreal! Anyway, thanks so much for your quick response and your help!

  3. carol carter says

    Wow, so far everyone has it better than me. The lender took $450 out of my account on July 11 for the appraiser. It is currently August 12th and no report. The lender told my husband and I that the report would be in their hands July 22nd. On August 5th, the lender said he is working on it over the weekend and will have on Monday.Tuesday August 9th the appraiser said in our hands August 12th. Now the appraiser says ASAP. ASAP would have been 3 weeks ago. Who can I go to?? My house is being built “modular”, my contractor and builder have been ready since july 1st. My husband “a vet” and disabled, was told to move here for his health “depression”. We sold our home May 25th, go a pre-approved qualification letter May 13, chose our new home Two weeks before the sale of our home. First Week of June, met with contractor, second week of June met with seller, here it is the end of August and nothing. Our house will be ready to set September 13th. Waiting on an appraiser… Now What a LAWYER???????

    • says

      Hi Carol. I’m so sorry to hear that. I know from speaking with appraisers from across the country it is an incredibly busy season. It doesn’t surprise me the original promised turn-time of 10 days was not met, though it does get surprising to hear of such a long turn-time. However, I also have colleagues in other states that are backed-up a good 6 weeks or so for standard appraisals. In many other areas right now many appraisers are know are backed up 2-3 weeks. I wonder what is going on with your situation. It could be an appraiser being backed-up, an appraiser having issues with the appraisal (if it’s complex), or maybe a lender out-of-tune with current turn-times and promised on something that was totally unrealistic to deliver (among other potential issues). Whatever the reason is I really hope it comes out well for you. Hang in there.

  4. says

    Im wondering if there is a way to have my va appraisal assaigned by request as the vet. My lender put in the order on the 12th of August, i spoke with the va today and it still hasnt even been assaigned. They told me they only do assigning one day a week on mondays. Im supposed to close on the 14th of september, how if i can, can i get the va to assaign my appraisal now

    • says

      Hi David. Thanks for reaching out. I’m so sorry to hear about a delay with the VA. Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to your question since I’m never on that side of the transaction. It’s troubling to think the appraisal is not assigned yet, though I do wonder if the VA has attempted to assign it. Maybe appraisers have declined the order due to complexity? In this case I might recommend reaching out to your loan officer and asking him/her what can be done to achieve results. If your loan officer has a direct phone number for the VA appraisal department, you can always give them a call too. I’m not sure that would result in anything, but it may be worth a shot. Keep in mind in many parts of the country appraisers are very much backed up right now. For instance, I have colleagues in the Pacific NW that have 6-8 week turn-times. I wish you the best. Most of all, thank you for your service.

  5. JEFFREY SETREN says

    Typically, could an 8 year old 2 BR/2 Bath condo in a 55+, 70 unit, 6 story mid-rise, currently under contract for $327K (ask = $330K/original owners ) 45 days ago and is occupied by the original owners (my wife and I) be considered a “complex appraisal” if:
    1. Two units (2 Bed/2Bath) with easily comparable features in the same building sold at arms-length within the last 60 days;
    2. One of the comparable units, that has 25% fewer SQFT closed for $223/ SQFT in July and the other, that has 25% more SQFT, also sold for $223/SQFT. (Other than SQFT, the only major difference between the two units is that the larger one conveyed with one garage parking space. Our unit and the smaller one do not convey with a garage parking space.)
    4. Buyer has been approved for a $245K mortgage (75% of sale price) that the loan officer maintains is contingent on the mortgage company REVIEWING the report from their local appraiser who conducted the inspection 2 weeks ago.

    Buyers mortgage loan officer just requested a two week extension for providing a final mortgage commitment due to his underwriters stating that ours was a complex property appraisal that required at least two weeks more to conduct a complete review of the already turned-in appraisal report.

    Does this seem plausible when the loan to ratio value is 75%?

    • says

      Hi Jeffrey. Thank you for reaching out. Your situation does not sound complex, but then again I’m not the one crunching the numbers. There can be complexities that are not readily known. The two sales you mentioned, for example, may have some issues for some reason. The thing is the extension could be due to the appraiser being incredibly busy too instead of complexity. Maybe the lender is saying complexity when the appraiser simply needs more time?

      I find these days some lenders are behind the ball when considering the current market as it is taking longer for appraisal reports to get done right now. In the Pacific NW, for example, I have colleagues that are backed-up for 6 weeks. Thus if a lender orders an appraisal and says it will be finished in one week, the lender is the one who is out of touch with the market and not communicating well. Could this be an issue on the appraiser’s end and could complexity be the real issue? Of course. I really cannot blame one party here because I don’t know the full situation. I only wanted to provide some commentary for perspective as maybe the issue is simply a short turn-time was quoted by the lender when a longer one should have been quoted to begin with.

      For any onlookers wondering why appraisals are taking longer these days in 2016, I have an updated article here: http://sacramentoappraisalblog.com/2016/09/20/5-things-to-consider-about-higher-appraisal-fees-and-longer-turn-times/

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