How to Dispute a House Appraisal

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Few things can make a smooth home sale go sour faster than a low appraisal. When an appraisal comes in below the sale price, it can leave both the seller and buyer feeling helpless and frustrated. Chances are that the low appraisal has nothing to do with deceptive measures on either end of the sale process. So before jumping to conclusions or abandoning the deal, consider the ways that you can dispute the house appraisal.

  • Request a copy of the appraisal. Review the report thoroughly and check for accuracy. Make sure all information used for the appraisal is correct, including square footage of the home, sale price, and the date the house was listed.

  • Speak with the Realtor and inquire about the terms of the contract sales price. Make sure that the property was assessed fairly according to a comparable market analysis.

  • Find out where the appraiser is located. Check to make sure that the appraiser is familiar with the housing market where the appraisal was performed.

  • Check to see if the appraiser had enough information made available to him about the home to provide a fair market appraisal. Inquire about any specialty items in the home that could raise the appraisal, such as granite countertops, gourmet appliances and hardwood floors. Make sure the appraiser was aware of any such items when he did the appraisal.

  • Inquire about the properties that were used to formulate the appraisal. Ask the agents what they know about the properties and determine if they were fair comparisons.

  • Work with your Realtor to locate fair comparisons for an appraisal if you find that the original properties used were not fair market representations.

  • Provide the appraiser with a list of fair comparisons and request that the property be re-appraised according to the homes on your list. Ask to have the home appraisal adjusted to meet the contract sales price.

  • Speak with the lender if the appraiser refuses to adjust the appraisal rate. Inquire about having a new appraisal done by a different appraiser. Split the cost between the listing and selling agent, if possible.

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