Getting a Home Appraisal During the Pandemic

If you are financing the purchase of your North County San Diego home, then your lender will order an appraisal of the home as part of closing on the loan. But as we continue to practice social distancing in Southern California, the process of getting an appraisal has changed to adapt to the new conditions. While it’s still possible to get an appraisal of your home, you should be aware of how it may work during these unprecedented times. Being informed will help you to be more confident and less stressed during the closing process. Here’s what you need to know.

How do home appraisals typically work?

When you’re buying a home, the appraisal is a critical step of the closing process. Your lender will have a professional appraiser assess the home to determine its fair market value. This information helps the lender to determine if you qualify for the loan amount you have requested. Before social distancing guidelines were put in place, a home appraiser would visit the property to conduct an evaluation. They would then use that information as well as other data to determine the home’s value.

How have home appraisals changed?

As long as we continue to practice social distancing, professional appraisers will need to modify how they evaluate the home in person. In most cases, the seller will clean and disinfect the home and be asked to vacate the property before the appraiser arrives. The appraiser will wear a mask and gloves for protection. They will also try to touch as few surfaces as possible to keep everyone safe.

Are there other appraisal options available?

Obviously, having an in-person appraisal comes with its fair share of risks. Fortunately, other appraisal options have been available for some time. Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have relaxed their requirements so that appraisers can conduct their services without putting anyone at risk. These alternative methods include:

  • Desktop appraisal – A desktop appraisal is just what it sounds like. An appraiser will use existing data about the home to determine its value without ever leaving their desk. They will look at tax records, market research, MLS records, and recent comps to come up with the value of the home.
  • Drive-by appraisal – Again, the name says it all. An appraiser can drive-by the property to help determine its value. Drive-by appraisals are often used in conjunction with desktop appraisals to evaluate a property. The appraiser may also use photos of the interior or take a virtual tour of the home.

Are there any drawbacks to alternative appraisals?

Appraisers have been using desktop and drive-by appraisals as part of the process for many years. However, they do have some drawbacks. If there is anything particularly unique about the home, then it can be difficult to assess how that will affect the value of the property. For this reason, buyers should be cautious about making an offer that is higher than the recent comps. If your offer is higher than the appraised value, then you may have trouble securing financing for the home.

Contact the Clark & Gilman Team

If you’re ready to buy or sell a North County San Diego home, then it’s essential to have a team of experts on your side. Contact the Cristine Clark & Jamie Gilman Team at 760-758-1211 or [email protected]. Our agents are ready and available to assist you with all your real estate needs!

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