Home Buying in Lancaster>Question Details

YYY, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

We have an accepted contract on a property but when the appraisal came back, it appraised at only 91% of the the sale price! (Ouch).

Asked by YYY, San Francisco, CA Thu Oct 1, 2009

When we spoke to our realtor he said something like - I don't think we'll have a problem getting that appraised amount up - and the mortgage originator called this AM to say that he suddenly had a new appraisal in his e-mail, and the appraised price is now magically the same as our purchase price. He went on the record as saying this seems very fishy - and I have to agree. Has anyone ever heard of an appraisal being adjusted by 40K based not on new comps but supposedly on wrong amounts used for lot size and garage size? That's all that was adjusted.

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T’s answer
Lori, appraisers can make mistakes, but this does sound fishy to me as well. For an appraiser to 'miss' the lot size AND the garage size is very unusual - not impossible, but very unusual. This appraiser ought to be very red faced right now. Is your mortgage originator a bank? A broker? Associated with the real estate company? Is your REALTOR a dual agent in this case? That is, is he/she representing the seller as well as you? A $40 K adjustment is considerable - especially, if I understand you correctly, that it represents 9% of the purchase price! Without having the answers to the questions above, I am not even sure what I would suggest for you to do - this is very strange indeed.
Web Reference: http://www.GerryBeane.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 1, 2009
Why though would the buyer pay for another appraisal, when the appraisal is actually ordered by the bank and is supposed to be independent of the buyer and the seller? I thought an appraisal was the bank's way of assessing their risk in making a decision as to how much to finance. They don't care how much someone pays for a house - but they'll only finance a certain amount based on what the appraisal says a home is worth. If the buyer in this case paid for another appraisal, what would require the bank to accept it?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 14, 2010
One appraisal does not trump another ! It seems like the solution over an amount as high as 40,000 might be either a 3rd appraisal(and then tossing out the one that's drastically different) or the average of two appraisals. You now, don't want to overpay for the property !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 13, 2010
Hello Lori ,
There are presently a lot of out of the area appraisers who don't know the local area and are sometimes making questionable appraisals. I don't want to say more, but any local appraiser will be happy to react on this.
The $ 40,000 addition for the larger yard and a 3 car garage seems reasonable.
I question a comp of a house without a garage in your price range of 400,000-$ 450,000.
Ask more questions or spend the money ( $ 450 ) for an appraisal by a good local appraiser .In the worst case you wasted some $$ ,but at least you know if you paid the right price .
Iam afraid that I red this question too late and it might be a done deal.Let us know how the story ended
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 8, 2010
Lori, I have attempted to make further comment on this issue for you several times. I keep getting an error message from Trulia that says "Please, no profanity". I promis you, I have not used any profanity and I have re-checked my spelling a number of times just to make sure there wasn't a typo of some sort that might be taken as profanity. Nothing there, either. In the meantime, I have written to Trulia tech support to see what the problem is. If you would like to see my further comments, please send me an email off line here at Gerry@GerryBeane.com and I will pass my non-profane comments on to you there. Sorry for the extra trouble.
Web Reference: http://www.GerryBeane.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 1, 2009
Lori I had an appraiser miss a basement one time. They are only human and errors happen. Remember apprail is an art not an exact science and only one persons opinion of the value of the property at that point in time.
Web Reference: http://www.Find1Home.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 1, 2009
Yes, I have seen this happen. In recent instances where a less experienced appraiser botched the appraisal and gave a ridiculously low number to the buyer's lender, it was disputed, and properly adjusted.

If the sales price is a fair market value, and the low appraisal is incorrect, there's no reason it shouldn't be adjusted by way of a new appraisal.

If the sales price is over fair market value, and the lower appraisal is more realistic, then you as the buyer have a decision to make. You can either come out of pocket and pay the higher price, covering the difference from what your lender will lend, or you can take the appraisal to the listing agent and negotiate a lower price.

As soon as the seller sees the appraisal, they will probably want to dispute it right off the bat, especially if their expectations are out of line with market value. After all, it is their home, and they are emotionally attached to it, so "obviously it's worth what they say it's worth." But we all know that's not the truth, and the reality is that their agent is probably relieved that he now has more evidence that the price needs to come down for future marketing purposes, especially since you may be ready to walk away because you can't cover the difference.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 1, 2009
Thanks for your thoughts. To answer your questions, our mortgage originator is a bank (credit union actually - from my husband's job). They called me this morning to tell me a "corrected" appraisal had just been sent to them - they didn't request it - the seller's agent apparently did. We do not have a dual broker, supposedly he represents us only, but he has mentioned many times that he is "good friends" with the seller's broker.

They changed the adjustment on both the lot size and the garage from +10K to +30K. The difference between our property and the comps is .29 acre, and no parking vs. a three car garage. This resulted in the 40K adjustment, which is about 9% of the purchase price.

Thanks again!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 1, 2009
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