What to Do When an Appraisal Comes in Low in NYC

What happens if the bank’s appraisal comes in too low? As a buyer or seller in NYC, you may be wondering what options exist if the appraised value is below the contract price.

6 min readJun 5, 2018

What happens if the appraisal is lower than the purchase price?

If an appraisal comes in lower than the sale price, it means that the buyer’s bank will only issue a mortgage based on the appraised value as opposed to the purchase price. This results in a financing shortfall (also known as an appraisal gap) for the buyer.

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Here is an example of what happens if the appraised value comes in below the offer price:

Contract Price: $800k
Appraised Value: $750k
Bank’s Loan to Value (LTV): 80%
Original Loan Size: $800k x 80% = $640k
New Loan Size: $750k x 80% = $600k
Shortfall = $640k — $600k = $40k

The shortfall of $40k represents a financing (appraisal) gap for the buyer. Because banks don’t typically increase the ‘Loan to Value’ (LTV) as a response to a low appraisal, it means that the financing shortfall must be covered through the buyer putting down an extra $40k on the purchase.

If the buyer has an appraisal contingency or a minimum loan amount contingency, it means that he or she is entitled to cancel the contract as a result of a low appraisal. However, most buyers and sellers will make an effort to keep the deal alive by utilizing any number of low appraisal response strategies which we explain below.

What are next steps if an appraisal comes in too low?

There are a number of strategies for responding to a low appraisal in New York City. We explain each approach in detail below:

Option 1: Buyer increases his or her down payment

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The easiest response to a low appraisal in NYC is for the buyer to increase his or her down payment to cover the appraisal gap. If the appraised value is extremely close to the contract price, most buyers should be amenable to putting slightly more down on the purchase.

If the appraised value comes in way lower than the purchase price, most buyers will be resistant to increasing the down payment. If you are buying a co-op apartment, increasing the down payment will reduce your post-closing liquidity and put you at risk of not meeting the co-op board’s financial requirements.

Option 2: Seller lowers the contract price

The easiest way for the seller to solve a low appraisal situation is to agree to reduce the contract price to the appraised value. Most sellers will be resistant to this idea, especially if they feel that the appraisal is inaccurate and out of touch with the market.

The most common approach is for the buyer and seller to renegotiate the contract price. One common proposal is for the buyer and seller to meet in the middle and set the new contract price as the midpoint between the appraised value and the original purchase price.

Option 3: Buyer applies for a mortgage with a new bank

If the buyer and seller cannot agree on a new contract price, the easiest next step is for the buyer to apply for a mortgage with another bank. Applying with a new bank means that another appraisal will be ordered.

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Often times buyers are resistant to applying with another bank since they will have to pay for another appraisal. In addition, a buyer who has secured an attractive interest rate lock will be even less interested in applying with a new bank (presumably at a higher interest rate) later down the line. Furthermore, applying with a new bank can often delay the co-op board approval process by two to three weeks.

Option 4: Buyer submits an appraisal rebuttal (reconsideration)

Submitting an appraisal reconsideration with the buyer’s lender is another way to respond to a low appraisal. Most appraisal challenges will only be seriously considered if there are factual errors in the appraisal or if the appraiser did not include the most relevant comparable transactions. We explain the process for an appraisal rebuttal in detail below.

How can I contest a low appraisal in New York City?

A buyer can contest a low appraisal in NYC by submitting an appraisal reconsideration with his or her lender. The appraisal appeal process typically takes around two weeks. The first step in an appraisal appeal is for the buyer, seller, listing agent and the buyer’s agent to thoroughly review the appraisal provided to you by the lender.

How to Challenge a Low Appraisal in NYC | Hauseit

When reviewing the appraisal, the most important things to look out for are factual errors and key comparable transactions omissions. Most banks will only allow the buyer to contest the appraisal if there are factual errors in the appraisal or key omissions in the comparable transactions. Some examples of factual errors include incorrect square footage and inaccurate room and/or bedroom count for the comparable properties.

It typically takes around two weeks to hear back from the appraiser once the buyer has submitted the items for the challenge to his or her mortgage banker. When the challenge is complete, the appraisal firm will provide the buyer with an ‘Appraisal Reconsideration Response’ which responds to each additional comparable or factual error presented by the buyer.

If there is an increase in the appraised value, the bank will be able to lend against the new appraisal value. If there is no change in the appraisal price, the bank will not be able to increase the size of the loan.

Can a buyer back out if the appraised value is too low?

Yes. A buyer can back out of a deal if the appraised value is lower than the contract price provided that there is a contingency in the contract permitting him or her to cancel the transaction. If the contract is non-contingent, then the buyer is obligated to proceed with the deal and make up for the appraisal gap.

Can a seller back out if the appraisal comes in low?

Yes. If the seller is unwilling to lower the contract price to the appraised value and the buyer has a mortgage contingency, the buyer is permitted to cancel the transaction. In other words, the seller can entice the buyer to cancel the deal by not agreeing to sufficiently reduce the contract price.

Is paying over appraised value a good idea in NYC?

It depends. If you feel that the appraisal is inaccurate, then you should not place too much weight on the fact that the appraised value is below the contract price. On the other hand, if you engaged in a frenzied bidding war and feel that you’ve overpaid, then perhaps it’s a good thing that you (hopefully) have an appraisal contingency which may allow you to renegotiate the purchase price.

Over the course of a long term hold period, agreeing to a slightly high purchase price is immaterial in the face of annual price appreciation and all the other benefits of owning vs. renting in New York City.

Read the Full Article: https://www.hauseit.com/low-appraisal-rebuttal-nyc/

Disclosure: Hauseit (https://www.hauseit.com) and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The services marketed on Hauseit.com are provided by licensed real estate brokers and other third party professional service providers. Hauseit LLC is not a licensed real estate broker nor a member of any multiple listing service (MLS).




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