What appraisers really do

Home buyers, sellers may be surprised to find out the truth about the appraiser’s loyalty

By Marcie Geffner, Cyberhomes Contributor

An appraiser is one of the most important people in a home-buying transaction. Yet few home buyers or sellers understand the facts about who appraisers are or what they do.

The most common misperception is that the appraiser represents the home buyer. That mistaken idea is understandable since the buyer typically pays for the appraisal. But in fact, appraisers are hired by lenders, and appraisals typically are done not to make sure the buyer doesn’t overpay for the home, but to assure the lender that the home won’t be mortgaged for more than a certain percentage of its value.

“Home buyers generally are not my clientele, and that’s the case with most appraisers,” explains Sara Goodwin, a certified real estate appraiser with Ashcroft & Associates, an appraisal firm in Vancouver, Wash. “For the majority of appraisers, lenders are the clients.”

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Copyright 2008. Marcie Geffner. All rights reserved.