Why Is My Home Appraisal Taking So Long?

Home Appraisal Turn Times Are Affected By Many Things

Have you wondered why it’s taking so long to get your appraisal back? Appraisal turn times can vary from 1 to 14 days or longer depending on the property and other various factors.

Why Is My Appraisal Taking So Long

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, you would think the market would be slower but it has actually ramped up. This is both a blessing and a curse.

It is a blessing because it is great for our businesses and it is a positive reflection on the health of our national economy. The real estate industry is helping to keep our economy afloat.

It can be a curse when appraisal turn times take longer than normal, however, sometimes this cannot be helped. In an effort to be transparent and educate about the appraisal process I would like to share with you some top reasons an appraisal may take longer than normal. If you have any questions leave a comment below.

Top Reasons An Appraisal May Taken Longer Than Typical

1) Busy time – These are unprecedented times. I have been in the appraisal profession for close to 30 years and I have never seen the market like it is now.

You would think that with a pandemic going on that the real estate market would be negatively affected due to so many areas being locked down and owners being nervous about buyers being in their home, but this is not the case. It is the exact opposite, with sales activity being through the roof.

This increase in activity is likely helped by the low-interest rates we are experiencing right now. Buyers who may have been on the fence in the past are now very motivated to buy and take advantage of lower payments that come with favorable financing rates.

This increase in buyers of course means that everybody is busier, including appraisers. Greater work volume results in turn times being longer than normal, however, it’s still not that bad it’s just something we’re not used to but we will get through it.

2) Lack of Sales – Generally speaking, in today’s environment of increased activity, finding sales is not usually a problem with most assignments. There are areas, however, where properties do not sell as frequently.

We typically see this in more rural areas or in towns that are smaller and sales activity is minimal. When this is the case the research phase of the appraisal assignment takes longer.

Sometimes in areas like this, the sales that have occurred may be private, what we call FSBO or For Sale By Owner. When this is the case we have to do more research to find them and then verify the information, which is time-intensive.

When there are no nearby sales we have to look to other areas that may be further away. Again, this takes more time than when we are able to find sales within a more active subdivision.

For assignments like this, we also need to make sure we are meeting lender underwriting requirements that I discuss below.

3) Unique Property – Properties that do not fit the mold also present challenges when we are trying to complete assignments in a timelyUnique Properties Can Take Longer To Appraise manner. Because unique properties are, well, unique every attempt is made to find similar comparables so that the buyer’s reaction to the uniqueness can be measured.

The appraiser’s job is to measure the market’s reaction to a property. We look to see if they paid less or more for a property because of its differences.

If we can find other properties that have the same unique features we can then compare them to other typical properties. We must then determine if the difference in price is attributed to the unique features.

When similar sales are not available we must at least have conversations with agents to see if there were any problems that potential buyers had with the property. Hearing that 9 out of 10 buyers did not like the floor plan or style of the house tells us a lot and it can help us to at least consider this information in the final value reconciliation.

Research and conversations like this take time which is why an appraisal on a unique property most likely will take longer to complete than a typical property.

4) Underwriting requirements – In #2 above I mentioned that appraisers must meet underwriting guidelines. Some of these guidelines pertain to the time of sale and distance.

What this means is that they require the appraisal to include sales that have occurred within a certain time period or that are within a certain distance to the subject property.

Some lenders have more strict underwriting guidelines than others which adds even more to the time it takes to complete an assignment.

5) AMC delays – Appraisal Management Companies, or AMC’s, have become an even larger part of the appraisal process since the housing recession around 2008. They have added another layer of red tape where before there was less.

In the past lenders would contact appraisers directly to order an appraisal. If there were any questions they could pick up the phone and speak with us directly, but not anymore.

In today’s lending environment there are multiple layers of communication that can add to the time it takes to ask questions or respond to underwriting guidelines which can result in appraisal assignments taking longer.

As you see, there are various reasons that an appraisal can take longer than normal. If you are experiencing delays in getting your appraisal back chances are it is due to one of the reasons noted above.

Question

Do you have any other questions about why appraisals take so long? Please leave a comment below and as always, thanks for reading.

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Comments

  1. Great and timely article! And you were nice enough not to mention how AMC’s shop appraisals for days to get a cheaper fee! Fatigue has got to be setting in for many appraisers as well since it’s been so insanely busy for so long now.

    • Great point, Glen. You are right that shopping for the cheapest appraisal can cut into the turnaround time, which the appraiser may be blamed for. I’m sure many appraisers are experiencing fatigue. Hopefully, everyone is taking care of themselves. Keep up the great work of educating the clients in your area too.

  2. The struggle is real Tom. I am buried and have so much work on my desk. Demand has really shifted these past few months. I only do private work too.

    • That is great, Ryan. I know it is a true blessing to have so much work! Good to hear you’ve hit the ground running after your unexpected health detour. Hang in there and stay safe.

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