Can I Choose My Arizona Appraiser?

Phoenix Arizona Appraisal Rules

I get this question constantly.   Can I pick my appraiser for my Arizona mortgage?  In this day and age of regulated and over regulated mortgages this question has the same chance of being answered with a “yes” as “can I pick what auditor at the IRS looks at my tax returns.”  The answer to both questions is an emphatic, stubborn and immovable “NO WAY JOSE.”

Regulators stripped Phoenix area mortgage lenders from being able to select their own appraiser long long ago.  This is true for FHA, VA, Conventional, USDA and JUMBO mortgage transactions.  As your mortgage lender, I am powerless when it comes to the selection of an appraiser.  Well, not completely powerless.   There are a few different ways a lender can manage its appraisal assignments.

1. A 3rd party appraisal management company
2. An internally managed appraisal assignment group

At PrimeLending, we opt for door #2.  It gives us as much control over appraisers as the Federal Government will allow an Arizona Mortgage Company.  It also helps reduce costs to our clients.  When a 3rd party appraisal management company is used more times than not, an additional charge is added to the cost of the appraisal to help pay for the overhead associated with the 3rd party company.  PrimeLending does NOT add a fee.  We charge our clients what the appraiser charges – not a penny more.

Is the Gov’t Tough on Real Estate Appraisers?

Long story short, the consensus was that appraisers were significantly at fault for some of the issues we faced in our Phoenix area real estate market.  Basically, the government felt that appraisers were pushing homes values up to unreasonably high and artificial levels.  There was also a basic impression that loan officers were pressuring and influencing appraisers to push values higher to meet loan to value limits needed to get their clients loans approved.

As an Arizona Mortgage Loan Officer, I have my own opinions.  These opinions however are limited to my own experience for the most part.  Not once in my mortgage career have I asked an appraiser to do anything other than appraise a home for what it is worth in an objective manner.  However, it is important to point out that during the crazy times here in Arizona, we had loan officers and appraisers working together on scams that had straw buyers purchasing homes based on the information of deceased human beings!  As much as I disagree with the current appraisal system, it is easy to understand why more regulations were implemented in an effort to stabilize some of the shenanigans in the mid 2000’s.

How Arizona Mortgage Lenders Order Appraisals

Today (and for the foreseeable future), every lender is required to have an appraiser assigned in a random fashion.  The policies/procedures are slightly different for FHA, VA, Conventional and Jumbo loans.  The common thread is that in every different scenario regardless of loan type the loan officer (and certainly the home buyer/homeowner) is NOT permitted to have any say in what appraiser is assigned to determine the market value of an Arizona home.

If you need help qualifying for a mortgage or have a mortgage related question call or email me today!  You can also APPLY NOW.

By Jeremy House


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