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  • Writer's pictureJesse Ledbetter

The underbelly of closing.

The appraiser, as a non-interested party to the transaction, sees a side of the process that few others do. By the time the deal hits our desk, 95% of the deal is done. Pre-2008 lenders merely looked for an appraiser to rubber stamp the deal, however, after Dodd-Frank there are more hoops to jump through.

Your lender endangers your most valuable asset by using an AMC.

AMC's shop around for the person who will perform the quickest and cheapest... which means they're also likely the least competent. If your property is highly complex, instead of going to the appraiser with 20 years of experience who will charge $1000 and take two weeks, the AMC selects the newly minted appraiser who charges $400 and will perform it in three days. Worst yet, if the lender was quoted $1000 as the fee, the difference will not be returned to you.

Your lender slows down your closing by using an AMC.

AMC's will shop for weeks to get the above senario. The longest I ever saw was over a month. I'm sure all the while the AMC cried that there was a "shortage of appraisers" while trying to pocket $600 for doing nothing.

Your agent is unresponsive.

I send the following email to every listing agent I perform an appraisal on:

I've been assigned the appraisal on your listing, and in order to provide timely service, I would like to schedule the appointment to inspect the property for ____________. I have a SentriKey in case that makes things easier. Will this be possible?
Any details that you can provide about upgrades and renovations (with approximate dates of those) to the home will be helpful. Additionally any details that you can provide concerning the number of showings/offers/CMA provided to the seller may also be helpful.

When I get a response (which is not always), 70% of the time the reply is "That's fine" or a proposal of another date. 20% of those that respond provide some information. Of that, 1/4 provide good/relevant information. That's about 5% of agents who are doing their job and representing your interests.

Keep your lender and agent accountable. Insist that the lender contracts the appraiser directly (this is legal, though most think its not). Insist that every communication that your agent makes be CC'ed to you.

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