How long does a home appraisal take?

A home appraisal in Alberta will take anywhere from a few hours to a day. The party that paid for or ordered the appraisal should receive a report within seven business days or less.

The complexity of the appraisal, the appraiser’s schedule, and other variables dictate report delivery date. We recommend including an appraisal deadline to avoid delays.

Quick take: How long does a home appraisal take?

  • Book an appraisal with a registered appraiser
  • The buyer or seller may also order a home appraisal. You may also order an appraisal if you are looking to unlock equity in your home.
  • Either party may pull out if the appraiser fails to deliver a report by the closing date and it is written into the contract.
  • An appraisal contingency allows either party to pull out of the deal if the appraisal is higher or lower than the offer.
  • Buyers and sellers do not have a legal obligation to share the results of a home appraisal with the seller.

How long will a home appraisal take, and why?

A home appraisal is a professional estimate of the current market value of a home or property. It is different from a home inspection in that the overall goal is to put a price on the subject home, and lenders use the data when approving loans. The exercise entails

  • Defining the appraisal problem/scope of work. A lender may define the minimum scope of an appraisal, which could be a detailed narrative report or a drive-by appraisal that only requires the appraiser to consider the property’s exteriors.
  • Market selection and property use. Is the property commercial or a residential home? The answer determines the appropriate appraisal method.
  • Data collection and analysis.
  • Opinion development -based on market data, the current condition of the home, and comparable properties.
  • Delivery of results to client.

Why is my home appraisal taking so long?

The complexity of the subject property dictates how long a home appraisal takes. For single-family homes or smaller properties, a home appraisal should take a few hours or at most a day. The longest wait may be to select a time that fits both your and your appraiser’s schedule. For larger commercial properties, an appraisal may take longer. Why?

A home appraisal report traditionally has three components:

(1) Physical inspection.
(2) Comparable properties within a one- or two-mile radius within the same neighbourhood (if possible).
(3)  Data evaluation.

Physical inspection, as the name suggests, involves examining the home. The exercise may be delayed because of the appraiser’s availability, accessibility to the home, and in some cases, weather conditions or other factors.

To avoid this type of delay, the parties may include an “appraisal due date” in the contract. An appraisal due date tells the appraiser when a report is due. It could be a few days or a week. We recommend keeping the due date below 14 days.

Comparable home selection

Comparable home selection involves a home appraiser looking for properties to base the estimate on. The valuator must use data from recently sold homes or properties in the area. To avoid delays, it is recommended that you only hire local appraisers. Why?

  • Hiring local home appraisers is cost-effective. They need not travel nor pay for accommodation.
  • Local appraisers understand the local market and have access to updated real estate data. It may take outsiders longer to get hold of data that local professionals already have.

Ideally, you want an appraiser that fits the criteria below:

  • An indifferent third party. Avoid hiring friends or someone who has a direct or indirect interest in the property.
  • A lender-approved or recommended appraiser.
  • An experienced professional. Look for experience, certification, or membership in an appropriate licensing body.

Data evaluation and report preparation

Gathering and interpreting property data takes the bulk of time during the appraisal process. The process involves:

  • Taking pictures of the subject property, comparable properties, the neighborhood, and surrounding areas.
  • Fact-checking the records. Some property owners may provide inaccurate records. Inaccurate records on improvements, repairs, or the current condition of the home can delay the appraisal process.
  • Getting hold of -survey maps, flood maps, and plot maps may require the use of public records. Access to public records may cause a delay.

Another issue that may slow down the appraisal process is liens on the property.

Can the seller back out if an appraisal is late?

A home appraisal report remains relevant for 90 to 180 days or more, depending on market conditions. If that amount of time subsides between contract signing and closing, the buyer’s lender may require a second appraisal.

What is vital to remember is that the party that orders or pays for a home appraisal is entitled to the report. Consequently, if the buyer or the buyer’s lender ordered an appraisal, the appraiser must send the report to the party that ordered it.

What typically happens is the home appraiser sends a report to the lender, then the lender shares it with the buyer upon request.

In Alberta, the seller is not entitled to a home appraisal paid for by the buyer or lender.

Consequently, the only way to back out of a signed home purchase contract is to use a contingency.

What to remember

  • The seller may back out if the appraiser fails to deliver a report before closing day.
  • The buyer and seller may postpone the closing date if a home appraisal is late.

Appraisal holding up closing: What to do

As mentioned, if an appraiser fails to deliver a report before the closing date, either party may withdraw from the sale if it is part of the contract. Question is, what can you do if an appraisal delays closing?

For the buyer. The first option you have is to talk to your lender. The lender may contact the appraiser and ask for an explanation. If you paid for or ordered the appraisal, contact the appraiser.

Depending on the explanation, you may negotiate an extension with the seller or pull out if the contract allows it.

Tip: The buyer has the option to cancel the sale if the contract was contingent on a home appraisal.

To avoid delays in closing, the buyer should:

  • Order a home appraisal as soon as possible and set a deadline.
  • Pay the appraisal cost on time.
  • Reply to lender or appraiser queries on time.
  • Ensure your appraiser is available within the time period required.

What happens before a home appraisal?

One of the conditions for buying a home via mortgage can be a home appraisal.

The seller can prevent home appraisal delays by doing the following:

Repair or update common appraisal issues.

Your property’s value is dependent on its current condition. Issues that may require a second appraisal after repair or improvement include:

  • Damaged utilities.
  • Termite or pest damage.
  • Old/peeling paint
  • Broken steps and handrails.
  • Moisture issues in crawl spaces.
  • Roof and foundational problems.
  • Missing appliances
  • Illegal additions or improvements.
  • Septic tank problems.

 We recommend getting a home inspection before listing the property. That way, you can decide whether to sell the property as-is or with improvements.

What happens after a home appraisal?

After a home appraisal, the appraiser will send a report to the party that ordered it. The report will contain the estimated market value of the property.

What if the appraisal value is lower or higher than the offer?

What does the contract say?

The contract may allow either party to pull out, and you may use the report to renegotiate.

Why is my appraisal taking so long?

The factors that may delay a home appraisal include:

  • Not communicating the scope of work/requirements clearly to the appraiser. We recommend defining the scope of the assignment and only hiring experienced or lender-approved appraisers.
  • Delayed repairs. How long it takes to make the recommended repairs may impact closing.
  • Not setting a deadline. Make sure that you communicate the expected timeline, and contact your lender if there are any delays.
  • The scope of the assignment. The deadline should give the appraiser enough time to complete the assignment.

Other factors that may affect the delivery of a home appraisal report include:

  • A busy market and the appraiser’s backlog. Check the appraiser’s availability if you are the one paying.

Factors that affect the cost of a home appraisal

In Alberta, a home appraisal will cost you anywhere from $200 to $700 or more, depending on labor and the location of the home. Other factors that may impact the cost of an appraisal include:

  • Mortgage type.
  • The size of the property and complexity. The bigger or more complex property is, the higher the cost. Also, unusual, or unique properties may cost more to appraise.

Sweetly’s Models

Sweet Sale

With the Sweet Sale, you get a Fair Price Cash Offer. It’s a fair offer that lets you sell without showings and choose your own moving day.

Start your sale with a Free, Fair Price Cash Offer, which remains open to you for 60 days. Activate our offer any time – even without listing/showing your home, or at some later date if your home isn’t selling. Compare our hassle-free, all-Cash offer to a traditional MLS® listing. Make an informed decision. Choose what’s best for you. Offers remain open to our customers for 60 days. Our offer is withdrawn if you list with an outside REALTOR®.

Listing With Confidence

A traditional listing allows you to test the market with your price. A listing with Sweetly comes with it’s own set of perks.

  • Test the market with confidence, knowing you’ll have a Sweet Sale available if your home doesn’t sell.

Start with an fair price cash offer to know the current value of your home. Then, decide ‘how’ you want to sell, BUT before you do, you can shop at your pace to find the right house. Beat out any competing buyer because you won’t need a ‘condition of sale’ so your offers are stronger without spending extra money. Once you have a firm purchase you can sell your house to Sweetly on a day that works best for you.

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