I live in New Hampshire, USA. I'm trying to get my home refinanced and it most likely requires an appraisal (not sure the requirements), but anyway... they want $1870 for the appraisal fee! I'm aware there's a high demand for appraisers at the moment, but it comes out to about $10.38/month for the duration of my loan. Are there any alternatives? Temporary PMI? Private appraisers?

  • 1
    Who is the "they" that want $1870?
    – AakashM
    Sep 24 '21 at 8:01
  • I assume it's one of those home loans where the interest rate is exceptionally low, but they make up for it by adding inflated fees.
    – Simon B
    Sep 24 '21 at 10:23
  • Sage/Quicken(RocketMortgage). I started looking at alternative options and another was $450. I think you're right! :) Thanks!
    – TheFrack
    Sep 29 '21 at 16:07

I would shop around. The last three refi's I did (in Illinois) didn't require an in person appraisal. When I purchased, I think the appraisal fee was around $400. You may not need an appraisal at all, depending on your equity, and even if you do, $1870 seems exorbitant. It's so high that maybe $1870 is the total fees, part of which is for the appraisal. I can't imagine an appraisal by itself being that much.

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    I don't know if you have them, but here lenders will sometimes do a drive-by appraisal. If their exposure isn't too high (good loan-to-value ratio) and data for the area is good, all they need is a check from the outside to make sure the value is compatible with what everyone is saying. This seems particularly common with refinancing.
    – Chris H
    Sep 27 '21 at 15:54
  • @ChrisH that makes sense. I suppose if they did that I wouldn't even know. If they aren't setting foot on our property they wouldn't need permission.
    – TTT
    Sep 27 '21 at 16:04
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    I only knew because they told me they wouldn't have to charge the full fee or enter the property. I certainly wouldn't have noticed them
    – Chris H
    Sep 27 '21 at 20:35
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    SO NewAmerican quoted me $450. He told me a story about how one time he needed to charge $2,000 for an appraisal because they had to send him out in a helicopter to the middle of nowhere in Alaska.
    – TheFrack
    Sep 29 '21 at 16:08

In almost all cases the lender will require an appraiser. And in almost all cases they want one from their network.

In some cases if the equity in the house is large they might waive it, because they perceive their risk is low. But in most cases their standard procedure requires it.

If you are refinancing with the same lender they might drop the requirement because they already have a good idea of the value of the property.

That being said a cash out refinance will depend on a fresh appraisal because they need a solid number to understand the additional risk.

If you will be counting on a loan-to-value ration of 80% to avoid PMI and you are close, then they will want a fresh appraisal.

Are there any alternatives? Temporary PMI? Private appraisers?

Getting rid of PMI is a process. You will have to wait until you have reached 80% to drop it. Dropping it may require a new appraisal any way.

There is danger regarding a private appraisal, unless the lender agrees in advance. You don't want to pay for two appraisals.

  • "But in most cases their standard procedure requires it." the joke from my appraiser when I did my refi was they were mostly just making sure that I didn't turn the garage into a meth lab or something. One of those jokes that are funny because there is that little hint of truth in it based on the area where I live. Sep 24 '21 at 19:30

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