Getting Your Appraisal Done Yesterday

by Stan Choate, Appraisal Tech / Valuation Associate

Lenders can hardly be blamed for wanting appraisals finished as soon as possible. Aside from the fact that no one enjoys long waits, lenders often need to please or pacify several interested parties involved in any given transaction, all of whom want to finalize their business quickly. Given these causes for haste, lenders are expected to select an appraiser with a quick turnaround time and then urge him forward. At Spurgeon Appraisals, we are often told by lenders that they need appraisals done “yesterday.”

Until someone invents a time machine, the best way for a lender to see its appraisals done yesterday is to be sure the appraiser is provided with as much accurate information as possible, not only to begin appraisal work immediately, but to finish the process without interruption or delay. In providing this information, we recommend that lenders remember the six standard questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

Who? We understand that lenders guard the privacy of their clients, but knowing the owner’s name can often allow us to look up information on the property, using online public records, as soon as a bid request comes to us. In other words, the owner’s name provides us with a helpful shortcut to more data. And of course, we keep everything confidential.

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What? If we expect to appraise a forty-acre vacant farm, but discover during the inspection that it has a functioning hog operation, the lender should prepare themselves for a delay. The best way for lenders to avoid such delays is to learn more about what the property is, and then convey that information to the appraiser. If it’s a residential property, what kind is it, and how much land is with the residence? If it’s a farm or large tract, how many acres does it have, and what kinds of land (cropland, timber, pasture, etc.)? What buildings are on the property? Are there actually multiple sites to be appraised?

When? If you need the appraisal done by a set date, be sure the appraiser knows that. If plans change, let the appraiser know that too. Also, make sure that completion dates are accurately stated in engagement letters and all correspondence. If the closing date in a purchase contract is no longer relevant, be sure the appraiser is aware of the change. Clear expectations for turnaround times will help appraisers move at the necessary pace.

Where? The sooner we know exactly where a property is, the sooner we can estimate an accurate completion date and plan the inspection. Most of the time, a normal street address is all that we need, but not always. Rural properties often do not have addresses or have rural route addresses, and these often cannot be located easily. The lender may need to provide directions or descriptions like “five miles west of this-city on this-road.” The section, township, and range can usually help us too. On that note, full legal descriptions, deeds, and surveys are often necessary to gain a correct understanding of where a property is and how much land belongs to it.

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Why? No appraisal report can be completed without knowing the intended use, because this must be stated in the report. Telling us the intended use immediately will prevent at least one possible delay. And we cannot proceed simply with the knowledge that the appraisal is for a loan: refinancing, purchasing, and new construction are all very different uses for an appraisal and raise different questions in the mind of an appraiser. On that note, if the appraisal is for a purchase, sending us the purchase contract at the beginning can speed up the process with the information it contains.

How? Very often, appraisers need instructions specific to the project at hand. A lender may want the buildings on a tract valued, or the bank may want us to ignore them. Multiple farm tracts may need to be appraised so that their separate values are seen, or that might not be necessary. Sometimes a property can be appraised either on a 1004 residential form or just as easily on a UAAR farm form—and the appraiser needs to know which is needed or preferred. If expectations for the appraisal are not stated plainly from the very beginning, before the appraiser even bids the project, the final report might need revision, causing further delay.

Short of manipulating space-time, Spurgeon Appraisals will do what is needed to get your appraisal done in the timeframe you require. But our efforts are greatly helped by information. More data is always better than less, and too much is better than too little. The more we know, the more quickly we can work to satisfy lenders and their clients.


Spurgeon Appraisals regularly appraises a variety of property types. We have experience appraising farms, residences, and commercial properties. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and quality appraisals. Contact our team to see how we can meet your appraisal needs and exceed your service expectations.

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