What's Up With Appraisal Fees
Let's Ask Kate

By First Time Home Buyer from Hawaii

Kate, what's up with appraisal fees? I recently purchased a beautiful condominium in Hawaii. As a first-time home buyer, I was not sure what to expect. One pleasant surprise occurred during the purchase process. My mortgage lender, a federal credit union, did not charge me an appraisal fee! I was not expecting this because I had heard many buyers pay $200 or more for an appraisal.

I know an appraisal was made because I received a copy of the appraisal documents just before the closing. Is it unusual not to be charged an appraisal fee? If I was charged a fee, is it negotiable? Does it vary according to the lender or the state where I am buying a home?

Should I expect to pay an appraisal fee if I refinance? I heard that most appraisal companies just look up comparable sales on the Internet and do not actually drive around the neighborhood. Someday I will surely buy another home and I want to be prepared to get the best deal that I can. Thanks!

Kate Answers: What's Up With Appraisal Fees - Let's Ask Kate!

Dear First Time Home Buyer,

Isn't everything negotiable? Mortgage lenders' charges vary for appraisals. Some banks include the appraisal fee in the loan origination fee. Some lenders require a more thorough appraisals while other institutions, depending on the qualifications of the borrower, use only a limited appraisal.

Be happy! You did not have to pay for an appraisal. I can't see a downside to that, can you?

When you buy your next home, you will be a little wiser and know to ask up front about appraisal charges. But don't stop there! Compare mortgage interest rates and reduce your mortgage closing costs.

After all, it's your home and your mortgage. No one cares about it more than you. You deserve the best mortgage.

Best wishes and good luck,

Kate Ford

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