When can an appraisal be ordered?

I Spy FisheyeIn Seattle’s competitive real estate market, we’re seeing offers coming in with shorter closing times, appraisals waived or even financing waived. It’s not unusual for me to have a Real Estate Broker say “the offer has been accepted, you can order the appraisal now!”  I recently had a Real Estate Broker from Seattle ask an excellent question:

“…I have listing that went pending the same day and the lender has not ordered the appraisal yet and says he must wait for “disclosures to be accepted by buyer due to lending laws”. Am I getting the run around from him or is there any truth to that? Shouldn’t these disclosures have gone out sooner?”

The appraisal can be ordered before disclosures are sent or accepted by the home buyer. Lenders cannot accept an application deposit until the buyer has accepted (signed) the loan application.

We require that the application is triggered (basically, that we have received the purchase and sales agreement) before we can order the appraisal. Other mortgage companies may have different policies. After the purchase and sales agreement (or information to create a complete application) has been received, lenders have three business days to send initial disclosures. It can sometimes take the entire three day period before the initial disclosures are sent as we (lenders) are trying to obtain the third party fees that will be disclosed (from the title and escrow companies, etc.).  This may be even trickier with the new disclosures that will go into effect next week where lenders are responsible for disclosing just about any possible fees that the buyer may encounter on the good faith (aka Loan Estimate). I estimate that at least during the initial stages of adjusting to the new forms, we will see a delay in sending disclosures (by delay I mean, taking the entire three days) before the buyer receives them as lenders will be extra cautious as we adjust to the new requirements.

However, back to the original point, the appraisal can still be ordered once the application is “triggered”, which may be before the buyer acknowledges (signs) the application. Some lenders may  have policies against ordering the appraisal until a deposit is received, which would delay the appraisal from being ordered.


  1. Melanie Saedi says

    Hi Rhonda. Thank you for this article. If there is going to be an inspection, we usually have it completed and signed off before asking lender to proceed with appraisal. It can save the borrower the appraisal fee in case the borrower cancels based on inspection. To meet the closing date, it’s important to complete the inspection immediately following mutual agreement.

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