An appraisal is a written estimate of a property’s market value completed by an appraiser shortly after you request your mortgage. Lenders use your appraisal to determine your loan amount. The market value of a property is based upon a market analysis of recent sale prices for similar properties in the area and the property’s physical condition. Usually, this requires an interior and exterior property inspection.
If the appraised value is higher than the sales price, there is no impact to you. But if the property appraises for a lower value than the sales price, the lower appraised value will be used to determine your loan amount. To complete the sale, you may have to make up the difference between the appraised value and the purchase price by increasing the down payment.
You may be able to secure a recommendation for a reliable appraiser from your lender, or you can look for one through the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC). The ASC offers a search engine to locate certified or licensed appraisers by name, state, city or county.