An appraisal is a critical element in getting a mortgage loan: the loan amount is directly related to the appraised value of the property. The length of the appraisal process varies based on a number of factors, some of which are within your control, and some of which are not.
The length of time an appraisal takes varies based on the type of appraisal. For home mortgages, lenders use two types of valuations – a full appraisal and a drive-by. A drive-by is a simple exterior inspection in conjunction with an evaluation of comparable sales, or “comps” for short. A full appraisal, on the other hand, requires that you provide the appraiser with access to your property. He prepares his report based on the complete interior and exterior inspection, again in conjunction with comps. A drive-by appraisal takes significantly less time than a full report; it's often turned around the same week, compared with about two to three weeks for a full report.
A full appraisal can get delayed if you can’t lock down an appointment for the inspector to view the property. You must block out at least 30 minutes to an hour on a day that works for both you and the appraiser. The quicker you set the appointment, the quicker the appraisal will be. If a standard full appraisal takes two weeks, but you aren’t available for 10 days after ordering, expect the clock to start ticking only after the appraiser gets access to your property.
Creating the Report
Once the appraiser has completed the inspection, he has to create the appraisal report. This takes time as he, or his staff, will type up all the data and compile the necessary comps. The type and location of your house will dictate how difficult it will be to find good comps. If you have the only two-story colonial in the immediate area, he’ll have to go outside the area to find appropriate comps. The time it takes to finalize and submit the report will also depend on ancillary factors such as the volume the appraiser is dealing with and the size of his support staff. This can add a day or two to the overall process.
Scheduling conflicts and the appraiser’s volume can both lead to the report taking longer than expected. Other factors can lead to delays in the report as well. The Dodd-Frank Act is very strict in regulating lenders and their dealings with appraisers, notably in maintaining independence and avoiding coercion. Often, an appraiser may go back to the lender with information requests, such as a request for a copy of a sales contract. However, an inexperienced lender may hesitate to provide this for fear of not complying with the law. The appraiser then has to contact you or the seller to track down the information to complete the report. This can cause significant delays in the appraisal process.