Can you give me a copy of my appraisal report Mr. Appraiser?

I Pay, I Get, Right?

One of the things I find difficult is explaining to homeowners that I, as the appraiser, am not able to give them a copy of their Appraisal Tip appraisal report that a bank or  mortgage company ordered. I received a call this week from the owner of a home I recently appraised asking me for a copy of the report. This was not the first time it has happended and I am sure it will not be the last, however I thought I would share the reasons that an appraiser is not able to provide a copy of the appraisal report to the owner or buyer of the property even if they paid for it.

To the consumer it doesn’t make a lot of sense why the appraiser cannot give them a copy of the appraisal if they paid for it but, as I will explain shortly, it doesn’t matter who pays for the appraisal but what does matter is who orders the appraisal. Appraisers must abide by the Uniform Standards of  Professional Appraisal Practic (USPAP) which states the following in the Confidentiality section of the Ethics Rule:

An appraiser must not disclose (1) confidential information;  or (2) assignment results to anyone other than:

  • the client;
  • persons specifically authorized by the client;
  • state appraiser regulatory agencies;
  • third parties as may be authorized by due process of law; or
  • a duly authorized professional peer review committee except when such disclosure to a committee would violate applicable law or regulation.
Who Really Is The Client?

USPAP also defines the client as the one that engages the appraiser, so when the bank orders the appraisal they are the client and that is who the appraiser reports to, so to speak. Federally related transactions require the lender to order the appraisal, so the homeowner is not able to order it and therefore cannot request a copy of the appraisal from the appraiser even though they pay for the appraisal to be done. As you can see, the party that pays for the appraisal is not the determining factor for who the client is. The lender must give their consent to whoever receives a copy of the report, however they typically prefer to provide the copy to the borrower, and are actually required by law to do so.

A law went into effect in January of 2014 that actually requires lenders to provide a copy of the appraisal or other valuation tool used to make a loan decision to their customer as soon as it is completed or 3 days prior to the closing, whichever is earlier. Prior to this law the only requirement was that they provide a copy, however there was no time restrictions. If you are not given a copy of your appraisal it could be a simple oversight of the lender and you can request one in writing. If you have any other questions about the procedure for getting a copy of your appraisal report leave me message below.

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Comments

  1. Guy C Smith says:

    Tom, we are using our credit union to refi, a credit union we’ve been a member of for 25 years, they ordered they appraisal we paid $800 dollars for and now they are saying its an insufficient report and they need to order a new one. My question is why all the secrecy why will they not allow me to see the initial report that I’ve paid for? I contacted the appraiser directly and she has no idea what the problem is and has not heard from them on any issue, she also stated she has been doing this for 25 years.

    Thanks

    • I would ask them for the appraisal as it is a requirement that they provide you with a copy. It may not have come in at the value they needed to do the loan. I’m not sure any other reason they would do this.

  2. vladimir cherkassky says:

    I am a buyer and my financing fell through. The day after my agent started termination of the purchase agreement, I asked my mortgage broker whether the appraising has been done and he said it should have been done ‘last week’. However, my credit card does not show any appraisal fees as of today.

    • It could be that the appraiser did the property visit but has not completed the report. If this is the case you might be able to catch them before they do finish it. They will probably charge you for the appraisal inspection but not for the complete job. A call to the appraiser would probably clear things up.

  3. Kristina Driver says:

    Hello Everyone: So we applied with a bank for a Construction Loan and they ordered an appraisal. We were so dissatisfied with the bank’s service (long story) and we switched lenders. We paid the first bank for the appraisal and received a hard-copy of it in the mail. They also provided the new lender with a copy. Unfortunately, now they are saying that they cannot provide a digital copy to us or lender. Why? We asked and there is no reason provided by the first lender – they just say they can’t. I’m assuming that the $400 we paid to the first lender afforded us the full appraisal (paper and digital). Can anyone offer me with some insight as to if this is legal OR if I’m being played?! Thanks!

    • The law is that the lender must provide the borrower with a copy of the appraisal, which they did. It would be a company policy or decision as to whether they will also provide you with a digital copy. You say they provided a copy to the new lender as well? Was that a hard copy too?

  4. Michele Pendrey says:

    The bank (lender) told my friend they would need an appraisal and he was to get one. My friend then called an appraiser, hired him and paid him. So when you say who “engaged” the appraiser, shouldn’t it be my friend? rather than the lender?

    The loan fell through but he would like to use the original appraisal for his new loan application. Appraiser says he can’t furnish and bank can’t find it?

    • This is a really gray area and it can get confusing. Most of the time these days the bank will have a list of approved appraisers that they will contact to do an appraisal, however, if the bank wants to make a loan in an area that they don’t have any appraisers they may ask the homeowner to locate one for them. The homeowner would then give this name to the bank who would, in turn, contact the appraiser and “engage” them for appraisal services. Bottom line, the appraisal was done for the bank even though your friend did all the leg work. The bank can request another copy of the appraisal be sent to them from the appraiser and they can then send your friend a copy since they are required by law to do so.

  5. JoAnn Bamber says:

    Tom can anyone order an appraisal on property they do not own but potentially would like to buy in the future?

    • That’s a great question. An appraisal can be done on anything, but the appraiser needs to have access to reliable information about the property. This is easy when the property can be personally viewed by the appraiser but gets a little tricky when access is not possible. Sometimes the appraiser can use old MLS information or tax records if they are reliable. In situations like this, the appraisal is usually subject to an assumption that the property is in a certain type of condition. If the property turns out to be in better or worse condition this can effect the opinion of value.

  6. Rachele Stains says:

    Hello, I applied for a commercial loan through my LLC. We are set to close on Friday and the lender is saying they are not required to provide a copy of the appraisal to us. The lender said they aren’t required on the basis that it is a commercial loan. The loan is for a residential investment property. They said they could provide this post-closing. They withold this info for competitive reasons. Is this accurate?

    • It could be for several reasons. While I don’t know the specifics it is possible that if it is a specific type of appraisal, such as a restricted report, then the bank may reserve the right to keep it until after the loan closes.

  7. Thanks for the information. Are the rules the same for commercial property refinance, in terms of timing of delivery? I was trying to refinance. The lender hired an appraiser who completed the work and submitted a report, but omitted almost 1,000 sq ft from my building. After week of insisting that the measurements were incorrect the lender finally agreed to send the appraiser out to re-measure. Sure enough they saw that they were incorrect and acknowledge their error. The lender has not provided the updated appraisal report after repeated request. What are my options?

    • I do not do commercial appraisals, however, it is my understanding that the rules are the same. You may want to remind them that The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection requires a copy to be provided.

  8. Hi Tom,
    I’m trying to refinance in order to pay off my debts. I had an appraisal ordered by a mortgage broker who promised to get me a better deal than the 2 preapprovals I had. I asked him to give me some numbers in comparison to the preapprovals I had. He said that was unethical as he couldn’t give me anything until the appraisal was done.
    Once the appraisal was complete and he realized I had no choice , he changed his tune and came back with high numbers worse than the preapprovals. I told him I didn’t want the deal and would like a copy of my appraisal. He refused and said he had a new offer for me. I asked for the numbers which he refused to give to me. He said I can either come to his office to sign the commitment that I haven’t seen or forget about the $400 spent in ordering tge appraisal.
    I do not want to be forced to sign a commitment I don’t want and I have been lied to by this agent who gave me his word to get me a better deal than what I had previously. The appraised value actually came back higher than we expected but I feel cheated and will have to come up with another $400 for a new appraisal.
    Please is there anything I can do? I know the $400 spent has gone down the drain but I think there’s an ethics issue here and would like to know what my options are.
    Thanks

    • Sorry to hear about the situation Alex. By law, the mortgage company (or any lender) is required to give you a copy. I would let them know that you want a copy and that you are entitled to one by law and if he does not comply you will notify the state. Sounds like an unethical mortgage company. Hope this helps.

  9. Hi , was wondering if you can help. My buyer called 2 weeks before close saying his lender required an appraisal. I spoke with the appraiser and he told me he was hired by the buyer ( “Darryl” he said .. “Ugghhh ya”) . Dwayne says he now needs the appraiser phone number because him nor his lender has this information?. I fell the buyer wants the appraisal for his own piece of mind and if the appraiser was hired by the lender would have said such…. Just a little fishy and curious as to how this process works thank you…

    • The bank is typically required to order the appraisal so I’m not sure the bank will be able to use the appraisal. When the bank orders the appraisal they choose from their list of approved appraisers. The appraisal report is the property of the bank even though the buyer pays for it. The lender is required by law to give the borrower a copy of it. Hope this helps.

  10. I have a friend selling his home. He asked his realtor if he was allowed to request a copy of the appraisal from the buyer. She told him it was illegal and that he could be sued for asking. This doesn’t sound right. I know the buyer has no obligation to provide a copy of the appraisal to the seller, but is it illegal to ask? Is there a law specific to Maryland that you are aware of?

    • I am not aware of any law that makes it illegal to ask for a copy of the appraisal however, you are correct that the buyer has no obligation to provide a copy. If the appraisal is done for a lender then it is technically their property and they can do with it what they want. They are required to provide a copy to the borrower but no one else.

  11. We were selling our home FSBO to a buyer with an agent. The home we were going to get backed out,so we wanted out of our deal. The buyer agents said no way! Than one week after the appraisal she called an asked if we still wanted out,her buyers had a different place they wanted. We were thrilled and said yes. Then she said we had to pay for the inspection and the appraisal with a rush fee of $500. When my husband said we wanted a copy of the appraisal the agent stated they hadn’t received one. How do we get a copy of the appraisal? I think it came in low and she knew we wouldn’t budge on our price and wanted to get all her clients money back. She threatened us if we didn’t pay the $500 they would proceed with the deal,we just paid the whole amount because we had no where to go and she knew it. Any suggestions?

    • From everything I have seen, the appraisal is something the buyer typically pays for, however It sounds like you already paid for it so I understand that you would like a copy of it. The appraisal is property of the person or client who ordered it so in a purchase transaction the bank will order the appraisal to use for the mortgage loan. The bank is required to provide a copy of the report to the buyer, however it does not sound like there is a buyer in this situation. Even so, I think that the buyers you had should be able to get a copy to give you since it was for a loan that they applied for. I would ask the people that were going to buy your home to request a copy from the bank so they can give it to you.

  12. C. Colleen says:

    Thank you for the information was very helpful

  13. Catherine Fuller says:

    If 5 siblings own a property and 1 ordered the appraisal are all family members entitled to see the appraisal? Thanks, C

    • The person actually ordering the appraisal would be the appraiser’s client, however if that person also wants the appraiser to provide them a copy of the report we can do that.

      • Are there any laws preventing the appraiser from showing co-owners the appraisal? My Stepmother ordered an appraisal on a property co-owned by her, my sister and myself since my father’s death. Both she and the appraiser refuse to show us the appraisal.

        • Technically speaking the only one who the appraiser can talk to about the appraisal or provide a copy is the person who ordered it as well as anyone they gave the appraiser permission to show it to. If you stepmother requested that the appraiser only speak to her about it then the appraiser cannot release information to anyone else.

  14. Yuriana Lopez says:

    Hi Tom I have a question, I really can’t find the answer online. I’m in the middle of purchasing a home my lending company requested the appraisal and now the appraiser doesn’t want to release it. The appraiser won’t even release it to the lender company. Can he do that and what can I do.

    • Hello Yuriana and thanks for the question. Your lender is the direct client for the appraiser and is required to provide the appraisal to them. I cannot understand why they would not provide a copy of the appraisal to the company that ordered it. The only logical answer I can think of is that the appraisal could have been ordered through an appraisal management company in which case the lender may need to get it from them. Hope this helps.

  15. What if the lender never provides me a copy of the appraisal even after several requests and will only give me the value? Additionally, as a homeowner, can I order an appraisal from the same appraiser that the lender used in order for me to become the ‘client’?

    • As I noted in the post the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made it a rule in January of 2014 that creditors must provide the homeowner with a free copy of any written appraisal that was obtained for the loan and it has to be at least three business days before the loan closes. I’m sure they know this but you may want to remind them of it and if the person you are speaking with refuses I would ask to speak to a supervisor who may be more aware of the law. You can hire the appraiser if you want to get an appraisal for your own purposes, however the bank probably will not use it if they didn’t order it (that is if you were thinking about ordering it yourself and then providing it to the bank for a loan). Hope this helps.

  16. Janet Mihalek says:

    Hello Tom,

    Could you please advise why the mortgage underwriter will not release copy of Appraisal to me, even though I paid $400 for appraisal to be done. I was told that the underwriter had to contact the Appraiser regarding some issues on report, and I was not told what the issues are.
    Thank you,
    Janet

    • Janet, by law you are entitled to a copy of the appraisal, however it may be that they want the report to be finalized before you get a copy. Sometimes there may be some clerical type errors in a report or the bank/mortgage company may want the appraiser to answer some questions regarding why they used certain homes as comparables or maybe why they did consider other comparables. When all is said and done you should be able to get a copy of the appraisal. Good luck.

  17. Great job, Tom. It can be very upsetting to a home owner why an appraisal cannot be shared. I’ve definitely had to navigate through this conversation quite a bit too. Good thing private appraisals ordered by home owners do not have this hurdle. Nice job.

    • Great point Ryan. Private appraisals are between the appraiser and homeowner therefore there is no problem with them getting a copy of the appraisal report.

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