Since interest rates started to climb as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I was telling family members they should refinance if
they have not already. My sister decided to refinance her condo. She is using a 7-year arm because she plans on selling within the next 7 years. The rate for the ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) are still in the low 3’s. Great choice for her situation. She reduced her payments by $400 per month. I was also suggesting she continue paying the amount she had been paying and that will pay off a good amount of her principal over the next 7 yrs. All great things.
My topic here is about the appraisal. She needed to appraise at a specific number to avoid having to put any money down. She came in $3k short. So she was going to have to pay $3k at closing on her refinance. I suggested that she appeal her appraisal. Yes you can appeal your appraisal. You can appeal an appraisal in a purchase situation too. If your agent is knowledgeable and savvy they can persuade an appraiser to change a decided number. She was so close and the number seemed on the low side since a neighbor refinanced one year earlier and had a smaller unit which appraised at the same number. She appealed and the appraiser agreed and bumped her number up. Everyone should know you have a right to appeal if it looks unfair. Many times banks will higher people from different areas and they evaluate based on data available.
Agents should provide information if it is not readily available to educate the appraiser on special circumstances. I am not knocking appraisers they are very good and they base everything on the facts available. They know what they are doing. On some occasions however information may not be accurate. Many times its up to agents that work specific areas to educate people on known facts that may be clouded for one reason or another. An example would be a comparable house used in the appraisal may have sold for a low price because it had structural issues. The appraiser has no way of obtaining this information. He or she would be completely unaware of that fact. Once informed they would adjust and make an accurate appraisal. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I was involved in a sale of a home where the appraisal came in $1 Million dollars under the offer price. We went to the appraiser who was from over 100 miles away and was using comparables from outside the immediate area. Unbeknownst to him, if you cross the highway the prices fell off by 25%. He refused to adjust when we appealed and the deal fell apart. We sold the home a month later for $50,000 less than the original offer with no problem appraising. This was not even close to the $1 Million less as the original appraiser suggested. We banned that appraiser from entering any of our listings in the future. The situation did come up and we had to speak with the loan officer and explain that this particular appraiser lacked the abilities to perform his job and he is not permitted to practice on our listings. The historical data was there he only looked at recent sales and nothing came up over the past six months. However he was given an opportunity to adjust on the appeal. It meant swallowing pride of which he could not do.
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