This is a great question. Appraisal payment is dependent on the contract terms and the lender. So for example, perhaps you agree to pay for the appraisal on the home you are buying. Generally, the lender will ask you for your credit card to hold for payment. Your lender will order the appraisal through their loan system. At that time, the lender will either A) Charge your credit card at that time and the appraisal is paid for or B)Tthey will hold off on the payment until the closing. At closing, the lendes includes the appraisal amount and then when you bring in your closing funds the amount is allocated. However, if you fail to close or change your mind about the house, the lender will charge the credit card on file at that time, to pay for the appraisal.
To know for sure, speak directly to your lender and he will let you know.
As a seller, if you are asked to pay for the appraisal, generally you would pay via a check or in some cases contact the lender with the credit card informaton. However, in todays market (04/05/2013) most sellers do not pay for appraisal and If you find this in your contract, I would ask your Realtor to counter on that matter.
If you are a seller and your wondering about obtaining an appraisal just to know the value of your house, I say do NOT bother. That appraisal will have no value if it's not attached to a loan and many appraisers no longer accept a seller request. Appraisals go along with a contracted sale. If you are curious about the value you may ask for a copy of the appraisal in a counter from the buyer. If you just want to know how much your property is worth, contact a Realtor they will be happy to give you a Comparitive Market Analysis (AKA CMA) and tell you what the value of your home is. Then you can ask pertinent questions about putting a plan together to either increase the value in the long run or simply find out about selling in todays market.
Thanks for the great question and have a wonderful day!
Prominnent Realty Group