What Is an Appraisal Gap and Why Could It Cost You?

Author Alan Bianco

Posted Feb 12, 2023

Reads 6.9K

Woman Wearing Bigger Jeans, Showing Gap

When it comes to buying or selling a home, one of the most important steps is getting an accurate appraisal. However, if your home appraisal works out to be lower than the agreed-upon purchase price, you’re in danger of experiencing an "appraisal gap". This term describes the difference between what a seller and buyer have agreed upon, and the amount that a home appraiser determines. A large appraisal gap can carry significant costs for both buyers and sellers alike.

For buyers, this discrepancy can mean that they may need to come up with extra funds in order to close on their new property. If the lender does not approve of a low appraisal due to equity concerns, then the buyer may need to make up the difference in cash in order to move forward. On the flip side, sellers may face challenges if potential buyers are not able or willing to cover the cost of a low appraisal.

No matter which side of the transaction you’re on, understanding what an appraisal gap is and why it could cost you will help ensure that you don't experience any surprises at closing time. Read on for more information about how a low home appraisal affects both parties in real estate transactions.

Uncovering the Consequences of a Low Appraisal

When it comes to buying a home, an appraisal contingency in the purchase contract is essential. One of its primary purposes is to uncover any inaccuracies about the home that would have been missed by a black dress inspection. The appraisal can provide information that can save money and helps ensure that the buyer will not overpay for the property.

Exterior of aged residential house decorated with low black metal fence and flowerbeds with bushes

However, in a market where home buyers outnumber sellers, an imbalance called an "appraisal gap" can occur. This puts buyers in a weak negotiating posture because they are competing with other buyers and an impatient seller may reject their offer price if it's too low. To protect against this issue, real estate agents often reserve "appraisal gap coverage" clauses in the purchase contracts they use. These clauses protect buyers from having to pay more than the offer price should there be a term called "low appraisal".

Going one step further, highly rated lenders like Upstart usually require appraisal reviews to ensure accuracy. Approaches such as these invite delays, but Upstart offers personalized lender matches for every zip code so you can get pre-qualified quickly. With these measures in place, your dream of homeownership can remain within reach and you won't have to worry about unexpected surprises like falling prey to an appraisal gap!

1. Renegotiate with the seller

Renegotiating with the seller can be a risky request when dealing with an appraisal gap. If your purchase contract contains an appraisal contingency and you’re facing competing offers, asking the seller to renegotiate could mean losing out on the home altogether.

It is important to carefully consider all of your options before making a decision, such as your next-best offer or other competing offers. Renegotiating with the seller should only be done if it makes sense for both parties involved – otherwise, it can be a risky venture.

2. Other ways to overcome an appraisal gap

When it comes to overcoming an appraisal gap, there are several options available. One of the most effective solutions is to find inaccuracies in the appraised value. This can be done with the help of a favorable appraisal or by having the seller become more patient. Another option is to include an appraisal contingency in your offer, so that if the lender offers an approved loan and the appraisal comes in lower than expected, you have some leverage. You can also look into better appraisal guarantees or have your real estate agent partner with another agent to get a better mortgage rate. All these solutions will help you bridge any potential appraisal gap and ensure a successful sale.

Uncovering the Mystery of Appraisal Gap Clauses

When entering a real estate transaction, it is essential to understand the appraisal gap clause. It's a clause found in most purchase agreements that states what happens if an appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price. This can be especially important in a bidding war or when both parties want to make sure the deal won't fall apart due to a low appraisal.

Woman Wearing Bigger Jeans, Showing Gap

An appraisal gap clause provides an extra level of protection when the purchase price exceeds the appraised value of the property. The clause states that if the appraisal comes back lower than the purchase price, then either the seller agrees to accept a back lower price or the buyer agrees to pay more out-of-pocket to meet their original purchase price agreement.

Appraisal gap clauses protect both buyers and sellers from unpleasant surprises that can arise due to low appraisals. Understanding these clauses and how they work are key components of any successful real estate transaction. By mitigating risks associated with low appraisals, appraisal gap clauses provide an extra layer of security for all parties involved in a real estate purchase agreement.

Spotting Appraisal Gaps in Today's Market

As the housing market continues to heat up, rapidly rising home prices have created an increasingly common challenge for home buyers: an appraisal gap. An appraisal gap occurs when a home appraises for less than the contracted purchase price, leaving buyers with the difference to renegotiate or cover out-of-pocket. This can be especially challenging for appraisal gap buyers who are not well prepared financially.

It is important for those looking to buy a home to work closely with their lender and create a contingency plan should any issues arise from an appraisal gap. If you are worried about this possibility, you should read our article “Skip The Appraisal Gap To Close Your Home Purchase” for tips on how to avoid this issue if possible.

In conclusion, understanding and being aware of potential appraisal gaps is essential for anyone looking to purchase a home in today’s competitive market. By working closely with your lender and having a contingency plan in place, you can help ensure that your purchase goes as smoothly as possible and make sure you don't get stuck with an unpleasant surprise down the line.

Appraisal gaps: The bottom line

Bidding wars, low appraised values, and now appraisal gaps are a common occurrence in today's hot real estate market. Sellers may be rejoicing at the norm of rising home prices but buyers may have their own concerns due to inflated home prices. Great news for sellers; not so great news for buyers.

The appraisal gap clause is a blessing to those who want to ensure that their deal won't fall through because of a low appraisal value. It states that if the appraised value is lower than what was agreed upon in the sale contract, then the buyer will cover the entire difference. This clause can give buyers an edge in competitive offer situations, as it allows them to bid higher than they otherwise would have been able to without worrying about covering the difference between the appraised value and sale price.

Mortgage Reports contributor states: "In some cases, an appraisal gap clause can make all the difference in getting your offer accepted." Appraisal gap clauses can be incredibly advantageous for buyers in today's market, so it is important to understand how they work before entering into a deal. Hopefully this article has shed some light on this topic and shown you how appraisal gaps could impact your real estate purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the appraisal gap?

The appraisal gap is the difference between the estimated market value of a property and its appraised value as determined by a professional appraiser. This difference can have an effect on loan approval, refinancing opportunities, and other real estate transactions.

What do I do if I have an appraisal gap?

If you have an appraisal gap, there are several strategies that can help you bridge the gap. From upskilling and career development to networking and leveraging mentorships, these strategies can help you close the gap and get the recognition you deserve.

How does a third-party appraiser determine the value of a home?

A third-party appraiser determines the value of a home by analyzing a variety of factors such as market trends, comparable sales, home condition and more. By using their expertise and experience, they can provide an accurate estimate of the property's worth.

Is there an appraisal gap in a contingent on financing purchase?

Yes, there is an appraisal gap in a contingent on financing purchase. Appraisal gaps can occur when the agreed-upon purchase price and the appraised value of the property differ significantly. To protect buyers and sellers, it is important to understand all aspects of contingent on financing purchases.

Can I withdraw my offer to cover an appraisal gap?

Yes, you can withdraw your offer to cover an appraisal gap. To learn more about the process, please consult with a qualified real estate professional and/or legal counsel.

Alan Bianco

Alan Bianco

Writer at CGAA

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Alan Bianco is an accomplished article author and content creator with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has written extensively on a range of topics, from finance and business to technology and travel. After obtaining a degree in journalism, he pursued a career as a freelance writer, beginning his professional journey by contributing to various online magazines.

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