Appraisals are like snowflakes. No two are ever the same.

Possibly one of the more frustrating areas for people in the real estate market is the appraisal process.

It’s not even just those people buying or selling a house currently. But existing home owners who see juicy headline mortgage rates at the bank. Then when attempting to refinance to take advantage of the rates they are frustrated by a super low appraisal.

What’s Happening.

Well one thing that is happening is new guidelines for appraisers jointly adopted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. An excellent run down by Sandy Krestan in the Arizona Association of REALTORS blog.

The changes are called the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD), a lack of uniformity always confuses and frustrates so hopefully this is a good change. So many people are involved with the results of the appraisal, buyers, sellers, mortgage brokers, REALTORS, homeowners refinancing and even the bank underwriting staff are people too.

What Can Buyers and Sellers Do To Avoid Appraisal Frustrations?

The short answer here is not that much. If an appraisal comes in lower than both buyer and seller were expecting it can lead to a bit of an impasse. The buyer was willing to pay more but can’t raise the funds, and the seller believes in the value of the accepted offer.

For sellers price your home fairly to begin with and you should be able to find and accept offers that will appraise. Otherwise you are looking for mainly cash buyers and those buyers tend to be looking for the deepest discounts anyways.

For buyers it can be super frustrating when their bank to refuse to loan above the appraised amount but it can lead to opportunity. The first course of action is to negotiate hard. Get the absolute best deal from the seller. Only after that consider other options like finding cash to make up the shortfall or re-ordering a second appraisal. If you believe the appraisal is significantly lower than comparables show try to present this case to the underwriter as they do make the final decision.