Real Estate Reality: Appraisal alert

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX --  Right or wrong, many believe appraisers were partially to blame for the sharp increase in home prices that started in 2005 and eventually ended when the housing market collapsed.  

Since then, appraisers have been under the microscope.  

Mark Huczel is finally settling into his Phoenix house that he bought recently, which is good because he says the appraisal process nearly left him homeless.

"It was a nightmare, I’ve never experienced anything like that," said Mark.

Just prior to closing and finalizing the purchase, Mark says his bank demanded a second appraisal just to make sure it wasn't loaning out more money than the house was worth.  The delay, Mark says, was unexpected.

"I was only supposed to be out of the house for a night and then it stretched out for two weeks. I had three different dates of closing and they kept switching it on me," he explained.

Kelly Logan knows firsthand what home buyers are going through. He's a state certified appraiser and realizes the value he assigns to a property is crucial and can make or break a deal.

"The appraisal is used for securing the asset that they are loaning and that valuation will then determine the amount of the down payment and other items that are necessary for the loan to be secured," said Logan.

Back in 2005, real estate prices started creeping up and eventually inflated to a level that couldn't be sustained and the housing market burst.

As a result, mortgage lenders tightened the requirements on appraisers. For example Logan has to provide more comps, more analysis and a better explanation of how he arrived at a home's value. 

In some cases, a second appraisal is demanded and if there are problems.  

"It usually gets rectified in a few days," said Logan.

But days turned into weeks for Mark and his appraisal process and the demand for a second appraisal almost killed the deal.

"I bought a house in Mexico and it's easier... it was a heck of a lot easier than Arizona," said Mark.

Just remember the appraisal process today is a lot different than it was a couple of years ago and that could cause a delay when it comes to buying or selling a house, just remember that.