The housing markethas been booming for the last few years, this we know. Especially in the Seattle market we have seen housing prices rise at historical rates. This has allowed all the homeowners who bought even at top of the market to sell in order to buy a more long term home or downsize. This is only part of the reason appraisers are so busy. The other issue...refinances!! Rates have been low, historically low. Homeowners who had already low rates are now refinancing to take advantage of rates in the 3%’s. Hence, the appraisal demand.
What does this mean?
· Appraisal prices are going up. They were already expensive at $500-$600 but now consumers will be paying upwards of $900 for a standard, non-rush appraisal.
· Turn times which used to be 2-3 weeks are now 5-7 WEEKS for the report to come back. And even then we are seeing appraisers not turn reports in on time. This is a problem for a couple reason:
· As a buyer you must now ask for at least 45 days for closing, if not longer which makes your offer weaker than someone that can close in less time
· Your lock might either expire or cost you more money for a longer lock, or risk locking closer to closing and not getting the best rate.
How can you combat these issues? Choose a lender that DOES NOT outsource their appraisals!
1. Choose a real estate broker who understands the changes in the appraiser market AND can refer you to a lender that does not have to outsource their appraisals (i.e. in house appraisal department).
2. If you choose your own lender ask them first, does their company have an in house appraisal department or do they outsource. The difference in answer can mean a few hundred dollars to you and potentially an accepted or NOT accepted offer due to close times.
My preferred lending company is Caliber Home Loans. They have an in house appraisal department which means 2 very important things to you:
1. They do not have to pay a fee to an appraisal management company so they do not pass that fee along to you, meaning more money in your pocket at closing
2. They have more control over demand so they can hire enough appraisers to turn reports around in 2-3 weeks, allowing you as a buyer to close in the standard 30 days. If you are competing with another buyer for a home and your close time is 30 days, and theirs is 45-60 days, that is one point in your favor of your offer being the one chosen.
Home buying is stressful and expensive as it is. Let's try to mitigate the cost and stress as much as possible in ways that we can, and taking control over the appraisal process is one of the ways we can achieve that goal.