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The appraisal process can prove frustrating and time consuming for scores of prospective home buyers.

In turn, many appraisers have gotten a bad rap in recent months.  To help consumers better understand the process and the role of appraisers, the Appraisal Institute recently published a list of tips. Based in Chicago, the Appraisal Institute is an association of more than 24,000 professional real estate appraisers.

The tip sheet comes at a time when some appraisers are taking heat,  blamed at times for potentially costly delays and even for prolonging a decline in real estate values.

“Appraisers today are doing the same thorough, fact-based research and analysis they have always done,” Institute president Joseph C. Magdziarz said in a news release. “Appraisals are especially important because they are an objective and unbiased source of information. Unlike others involved in real estate transactions, the appraiser is an independent professional who performs a service for a fee rather than for a commission.”

The institute points to standard market declines and subsequent lender caution as the driving force behind some mortgage processing delays.

Here’s a look at some of the Appraisal Institute’s tips for consumers:

  • Make sure their lender hires a qualified appraiser (such as a designated SRA, SRPA or MAI member of the Appraisal Institute).
  • Accompany the appraiser during the inspection of the property if possible.
  • Request a copy of the appraisal report from the lender.
  • Examine the appraisal report and ask questions.
  • Appeal the appraisal if appropriate.
  • Ask the lender to order a second appraisal by a qualified and designated appraiser.
  • File legitimate complaints with appropriate state board or professional appraisal organizations.

To learn more, consumers can download the Appraisal Institute’s checklist (note: this is a PDF file) via its website.

Image: bgottsab

About the Author

Chris Birk is a former journalist and author of “The Book on VA Loans: An Essential Guide to Maximizing Your Home Loan Benefits.” He is also content development director for Veterans United Home Loans. Follow him on Google+.

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