How Long is an Appraisal Good For: A Guide to Understanding Appraisals

How Long is an Appraisal Good For: A Guide to Understanding Appraisals

Fairway Mortgage
Fairway Mortgage
Published on January 20, 2023

How Long is an Appraisal Good For: A Guide to Understanding Appraisals

When applying for a mortgage, one of the steps that you’ll have to go through is an appraisal. An appraisal is an assessment of the value of the property that you’re looking to purchase. It’s an important step in the mortgage process because it helps the lender determine whether the property is worth the amount that you’re borrowing. But, how long is an appraisal good for? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what an appraisal is, how long it’s good for, and what factors can affect the appraisal. We’ll also cover appraisal extensions and recertification of value, and answer some frequently asked questions about appraisals.

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What is an Appraisal?

An appraisal is an assessment of the value of a property. It’s conducted by a licensed appraiser who is trained to evaluate the condition, features, and location of a property. The appraiser will also take into account recent sales of similar properties in the area to determine the value of the property.

The purpose of an appraisal is to provide the lender with an independent and unbiased opinion of the property’s value. This helps the lender determine whether the property is worth the amount that you’re borrowing, and whether they should approve the mortgage.

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How Long is an Appraisal Good For?

The length of time that an appraisal is good for depends on the lender’s policies and the type of mortgage you’re applying for. In general, an appraisal is good for 60-90 days. This means that the lender will only accept the appraisal if it was conducted within the past 60-90 days. If the appraisal is older than that, the lender will require a new one.

However, some lenders may have different policies. For example, some lenders may only accept appraisals that are less than 30 days old. It’s important to check with your lender to find out their specific policies.

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How long before appraisals expire with Conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA loans?

Each loan type has different appraisal expiration dates to be mindful of:

  • Conventional loans: 120 days on an existing home; up to one year on a new construction property. Note that Fannie Mae loan appraisals may be valid for up to 12 months, but they require an update after four months.
  • FHA loans: 120 days. If updated, up to 240 days.
  • VA loans: Six months. The appraisal expires once the loan is closed.
  • USDA loans: 120 days, plus a 30-day grace period for a maximum of 150 days.

What Factors Can Affect the Appraisal?

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There are several factors that can affect the appraisal of a property. Some of these include:

  • The condition of the property: If the property is in poor condition, it will likely be valued lower than a similar property that is in good condition.
  • The location of the property: Properties in desirable locations will be valued higher than properties in less desirable locations.
  • The size of the property: Larger properties will generally be valued higher than smaller properties.
  • Recent sales of similar properties: The appraiser will take into account recent sales of similar properties in the area to determine the value of the property.

What is an Appraisal Extension or Recertification of Value?

If the lender requires an appraisal extension, this means that the original appraisal is still valid, but that more time is needed to complete the loan process. This can happen if there are delays in the loan process, such as a delay in getting the title report.

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Recertification of value is when the lender wants to update the appraisal to reflect changes in the market or the property since the original appraisal was conducted. This can happen if the market has changed significantly since the original appraisal, or if there have been major changes to the property.

How long is an appraisal good for? FAQs

Does an appraisal expire?

Appraisals don't actually have a specified expiration. Instead, a lender may refuse to accept an appraisal as valid if it determines that too much time has passed since the appraisal report was completed. Experts say most appraisals last up to 90 days, although depending on the loan type and the lender, many appraisals are accepted for four to 12 months.

How often can a house be appraised?

You can pay to have your home appraised as often as you'd like, even if you are not planning to purchase a home or refinance one, although each appraisal can cost a few hundred dollars. It can be smart to have your home appraised every few years so that you can determine its true worth, which can be helpful when deciding which improvements to make, how much equity you've accrued and can tap into, and how much you may want to increase or decrease your homeowner’s insurance coverage to be properly protected.

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The bottom line on how long an appraisal is good for

The shelf life of an appraisal can last longer than you think, especially if prevailing factors and market conditions remain favorable. Just be prepared to possibly shell out more money for a second appraisal if too much time passes for the lender's comfort.

"Fortunately, you can expect some appraisals to be waived on certain refinance deals, especially if you are refinancing with your current lender or if you make a significant down payment on a home," Gelios says. "I've seen buyers who put down 20% or more have the lender waive the appraisal because its risk was lower."

Talk to your lender about their guidelines and any opportunities for negotiating the appraisal or appraisal cost.

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