As a mortgage broker, one of the services I provide is liaising between lenders, homebuyers, and appraisers. When it comes time to have an appraisal done, sometimes the homebuyer will not be able to have access to the appraisal results- a situation that often leaves negative feelings as the homebuyer funded the appraisal.

So, does the homebuyer have rights to see their appraisal? The answer is mostly no. While some of the information in the appraisal is the personal property of the homebuyer or borrower, the full contents of the appraisal does not legally have to be released to them (even if they paid for it!). Appraisers’ first priority goes to their client, and most often this client is not the homebuyer, but the actual lender. The lender supplies the guidelines for the appraisal to be prepared under, and they are the true client of the appraiser. That being said, the lender can share a copy of the appraisal with the homebuyer, it is just the appraiser who cannot do this since they can only deal with their own client.

Situations like this often result in complaints and inquiries being filed by homebuyers, but the response will be the same: the appraiser’s client (the lender) has the ultimate decision on whether or not to share the appraisal report.

So, the lender is the owner of the appraisal information. But there is also another reason that most appraisal reports are not fully disclosed. Many lenders choose to hold appraisal reports close because when it lands in the hands of a homebuyer, they may use it to compare business with other lenders. The lender will not hand out copies of the appraisal in order to retain business, and it should be clearly stated at the time of payment for the appraisal that the fee is non-refundable. This will help the homebuyer fully understand the process and what they are entitled to. Even buyers with mortgages that are not funded will still have to pay this fee in full, and this is why it is often charged up front. Occasionally your mortgage broker can also negotiate to refund the fee once the mortgage is funded, but this is never a guarantee.

If you do want a copy of your appraisal for other financing purposes, there are steps that need to be taken such as seeking a letter of transmittal, an appraisal update, or even a new appraisal from the appraiser along with permission from the lender, which may be hard to get. When appraisals do get released to the homebuyer, it is most often only for information purposes, and the broker should remind the client that they cannot use this information for financing with another lender. To do so may bring on legal consequences for both the homebuyer and the broker.

If you have any questions regarding appraisals, or need a Brampton Mortgage Broker, contact me today.