• Transcript of Video Blog:

    Hey everybody, it’s Rowan Smith of the Mortgage Center. I’m here today to talk about appraisals. There seems to be a lot of confusion as to when appraisals are ordered, when they’re not ordered.

    This blog today is going to detail in what circumstances it’s going to be needed. It’s a little counter intuitive. You see there’s typically an appraisal or some assessment of value 100 percent of the time. Does that mean that they go through the property and take pictures every single time? No.

    So, I’m going to divide this into three categories, less than 20 percent down, 50 to 20 percent down and greater than 50 percent down. Those are the three main categories. You can argue with me a little bit on this, but that’s the three general guidelines.

    Now, less than 20 percent down, the bank’s going to want to make sure they know the value of the property, but do they require an appraisal? The typical answer is not usual. The reason being is less than 20 percent down are insured by either CMHC, Genworth and Canada guarantee. It’s mortgage insurance. That’s that big insurance premium you hear about.

    Now, in those circumstances those lenders typically, though not always, have a internal modeling software that looks at sales in the area and the last prices, listings, et cetera. And as long as you’re within a range of normalcy, not wildly above or below, they’re going to accept that value.

    Now, there’s times when even when you’ve got the mortgage insurance, they still ask for appraisals. And that’s sometimes when there’s a rental component to the property or it’s particularly unique or a high-end home or for whatever reason that they don’t support the lending value of the home. So, that’s if there is less than 20 percent down, they typically don’t need appraisals. But, again, an assessment of value is always being done.

    Now, from 50 to 20 percent down, you will almost need an appraisal 100 percent of the time. Now, some banks, a social bank, has an internal property assessment tool that they use, and they will do similar to those systems through the mortgage insurers.

    They’ll do like an electronic appraisal, but they have some guidelines there. The property can’t be more than a certain value and all those eligible for homes beyond a certain age, size or whatnot. Usually, those electronic systems are only allowed in a major urban setting, whatnot.

    So, most times 50 to 20 percent down payment, you’re going to require an appraisal. It costs about $250 to $300, depending on where the property is located. This is assuming it’s a general, normal transaction.

    The appraiser will go to the property, takes some photos and walk through it and then prepare a report of anywhere from 40 to 70 pages, depending on the complexity and depending on the lending requirements. It outlines everything about the property and makes an assessment of value, based on other comparable sales.

    Now, you may think to yourself. OK, well, if I’m putting 20 percent down or more, why do they want an appraisal. When I put less than 20 percent down, they don’t want an appraisal. And the answer is that when you’re putting 20 percent or more that bank is absorbing the full risk of that mortgage.

    If you default on it or the property values fall and you walk away, they eat the loss versus the mortgage insurers are the ones that take the loss in the event that you’re putting less than 20 percent down. So, the bank leaves it up to them because they ultimately will be the one at risk to make an assessment of value.

    So, less than 20 percent down, probably not an appraisal but you may have to, depending on the property. 50 to 20 percent down in that range, you’re going to need an appraisal of some kind, whether it’s an electronic one or whether it’s a walk-through.

    Typically, it’s a walk-through. 50 percent or more down, we can often use tax assessed values because it is such a low amount of financing. It’s a very low risk to the lending institutions.

    Some banks unequivocally demand appraisals 100 percent of the time. Other ones will use a property assessment tool if you have that much down the desktop or drive-by appraisals which are less costly and quicker to get. But it will still provide with some comfort.

    Those are the situations where an appraisal will be required. If you’re being asked for one and you don’t understand why, just give me a call. I’ll give you an explanation for it.

    I’m Rowan Smith from the Mortgage Center.

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