Mortgage 101: Why Is My Home Appraisal Taking Longer than Expected?

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/22/15 11:39 AM

Whether you are buying or selling a home, an appraisal is a necessary and extremely important part of the home buying (or selling) and financing process. So why did your appraisal date get pushed back? Here are some reasons and what you can do in the meantime.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The due date for an appraisal is set by your loan officer, but that date is not guaranteed. If the original due date for an appraisal is modified, it can delay your actual closing date. These are some of the typical reasons appraisal dates get pushed back.

High volume of ordered appraisals

Oftentimes it is difficult to receive an appraisal by the selected due date because of the sheer number of appraisals currently being ordered. A higher volume of homes being sold or purchased may result in a delayed appraisal date.

Unavailable property owners

A modified appraisal due date can also result from a property owner who does not respond to the appraiser in a timely manner. Though unintentional, an appraiser's schedule can fill up quickly and can cause your purchase property's appraisal to get pushed to the end of their docket.

New rules and regulations

Appraisers used to be able to perform an inspection and compete the appraisal report within a three to four day time period, but due to today's rules and requests of additional information, completion of an inspection and appraisal report takes longer. A week or more is now the status quo timeframe. These rules and regulations can extend appraisal wait times:

  • Underwriters can request more information. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, underwriters can ask for more information and additional photos from appraisers. While this regulation protects consumers, it also can lead to longer wait times for final appraisals.
  • Changes in loan officer and appraiser relations. Years ago, loan officers could use an appraiser of their choosing, but this is no longer the case. Loan officers are no longer allowed to speak with appraisers, so lenders typically now work with appraisal management companies to make sure this regulation stays intact. In result, appraisal management companies typically use an automated program to assign appraisers to properties and can result in an out-of-area appraiser being assigned to a property, delaying the process.
  • New regulations providing more transparency to buyers. The TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule (TRID) will go into effect in October. TRID simplifies closing documents and requires your lender to provide these documents three business days prior to closing. This creates a greater need for appraisers to complete their reports on time so lenders can meet their closing date.

What You Can Do to Ensure an On-Time Closing

Sellers can do several things to keep their home sale's closing date on track. Help your appraiser by:

  • Being flexible with inspection time frames
  • Providing copies of past appraisals, blueprints, property survey, etc.
  • Making a list of recent home improvements
  • Communicating with your appraiser to ensure they have all of the necessary information

A home appraisal is meant to protect the buyer, seller, and lender in a purchase transaction. While some delays in an appraisal may be out of a seller or buyer's control, consumers can contribute to the timeliness of an appraisal.

For more information about buying and financing a home, download our free Mortgage 101 Handbook, a great resource for first-time and repeat homebuyers.

Download: Mortgage 101 Handbook

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