Why is it Taking So Long to Get the Appraisal Back?
When will we get the appraisal?
This is a common question we real estate appraisers get and we understand the urgency. We are aware of the deadlines for closings and understand that a delayed appraisal slows down the process. Trust me, we appraisers want to get the appraisal turned around and back to you as soon as we can. If we can perform more appraisals in a shorter time then our business would be more profitable. That being said, there are reasons that appraisals get delayed or take longer than anyone would like. I would like to share a few of them.
Time for Research and Analysis: The appraisal process is not just finding three comparable sales in the neighborhood and giving a value. The appraisal process involves researching about the property, researching comparable sales, inspecting, analysis and composition. It takes time to research tax information, MLS data, city zoning information for the subject and select available comparable sales. For a quality report it takes time for proper research. If this research is done too quickly and not thoroughly, data could be inaccurate and the quality of the report would decrease. Not only is all of this information researched and recorded, but there is analysis of the market, determining the highest and best use of the subject, determining which sales are the most suitable, analyzing the stability of the market which also takes time.
Scheduling Delays: Appraisers have to schedule the inspection and sometimes there are delays in being able to contact the person to schedule. Just last week, we tried two days straight to reach a contact and found out that two numbers were transposed in the information we were given. Once we had the correct number we were able to schedule. Appraisers are usually juggling more than one assignment so they are scheduling field inspections around due dates and also time in the office to research and type the appraisal. Weather can cause delays in being able to complete the inspection. Sometimes borrowers will reschedule the inspection which slows when the appraisal is complete.
Complications May Arise: There are times when the complications or complexities arise which delay the process. One example is after the initial research we get to the inspection and find that the subject is not what we thought based on our initial research. It may be much larger than the tax data reported (click here to read how the tax measurement could be different than the appraisal measurement) or have an additional amenity such as a pool or guest house or it may be in very poor condition compared to the comparable sales we were intending to use. Once this happens additional research and time is needed to find similar comparable sales to use. These sales then need to be mapped and we drive by and take pictures of the comparable sales. Another example, occurred with us recently which involved the highest and best use of a property. We were appraising a single family residence and discovered that it was zoned commercial. We needed to confirm with the city that the subject was a legal nonconforming use and that it could be rebuilt if destroyed. We called the city and the first person we talked with gave us a number to call another person, which we did and left a message on voice mail. We did not hear back so we called the next day and spoke with an official with the zoning department. She told us that she would need to research and call us back which occurred the next day. This whole process of determining the best use took 3 days because of how long it took to get the confirmation from the city.
AMC Delays- Many lenders use AMCs (Appraisal Management Companies) which order, review and then send the appraisal to the lender. Sometimes there are delays at the AMC getting the order to the appraiser and then getting the appraisal back to the lender. We have had borrowers contact us wanting to know when we were sending the appraisal and we had sent it two days ago. For some reason it was delayed at the AMC.
Busy Workloads - Sometimes appraisers are busy with other orders. Right now in our markets it is very busy with lots of purchases and refinances as the interests have been low. When our schedule gets busy we let clients know that there would be additional time to complete due to our current workload.
A few thoughts about appraiser efficiency:
Sometime there is a trade off between time and quality. To have a good quality appraisal that is well supported, credible and reliable it takes time. Beware of the quick and cheap appraisals. That being said, there are things that appraisers are doing to reduce the time it takes to complete an appraisal. There are programs which aid in getting the comparables imported into the report more quickly. We use Datamasters. Using a laser measure helps reduce the measuring time. Appraiser Gary Kristensen has a good blog post on things appraisers can do be more efficient at Top Reasons Real Estate Appraisers Go Paperless and Mobile,
Also appraiser Ryan Lunquist offers this advice from his the Sacramento Appraisal Blog:
Advice for hiring a real estate appraiser:
Ask the appraiser when the report can be in your hands (before you hire the appraiser). Be sure you are on the same page about deadlines.
Let the appraiser know when you specifically need the report.