Getting a VA appraisal is a necessary step when purchasing a home with a VA loan. A VA appraisal establishes the market value of the property and confirms it meets the minimum property requirements (MPRs) set by the VA.
More importantly, VA appraisal requirements protect the well-being of Veterans, ensuring their purchase of a safe and habitable home. It’s mandatory for all homes financed by a VA loan to undergo an appraisal before a lender will agree to approve the loan.
In this article, we’ll cover the appraisal process and fees, helping you to better budget for potential expenses.
The VA Appraisal Process Explained
Once the appraisal process begins, the VA appraiser will assess the property, create a report on its value and condition, and submit it to the VA’s portal within approximately ten days. Note that lenders do not have control over the VA appraiser; the appraiser works independently to maintain objectivity.
The final decision on the property’s appraisal value is made either by a VA staff appraisal or a lender’s Staff Appraisal Reviewer (SAR). This decision is documented in a Notice of Value (NOV), which is typically completed within five days.
The NOV may also list issues that need to be addressed before the loan can close. These could include additional inspections for pests or damage, required repairs, proof that utilities meet requirements or a copy of a private road agreement.
How Much Does a VA Appraisal Cost?
VA appraisals can include a variety of fees, which may or may not apply to you. The associated costs are influenced by several factors, including the property’s size, location and complexity of the appraisal process.
VA Appraisal Fees
While the lender begins the process by ordering the VA appraisal, the borrower is responsible for paying the associated fees. Typically, these fees are paid upfront. However, it’s not uncommon for arrangements to be made for the lender or seller to reimburse the borrower during the closing process.
Let’s take a closer look at what exactly makes up the VA appraisal fee.
|VA Appraisal Fee
|Standardized fees based on property types
|Varies based on property type
|High Demand Counties
|Increased fees and potential delays for properties in high demand areas with limited appraisers
|Varies based on location and demand
|Charges fee for canceled appointments
|Up to $50 if appointment date not set and up to $175 if appointment canceled after date set
|Additional fee for properties that are proposed or under construction
|$50 above standard VA appraisal fee
|Reimbursement for travel expenses
|Approved by Regional Loan Center and varies based on travel distance
|No longer authorized
|No longer applicable
|Fee for re-inspection of the property
|Flat fee of $150
The VA requires a flat fee depending on where you live and the size of your home. The schedule considers various property types and helps determine the fees appraisers can charge for their services. Use our VA Appraisal Fee Calculator below as a resource to help determine your flat rate.
High Demand Counties
The recent surge in demand for appraisal services, in combination with a shortage of available appraisers, has led to sizable increases in appraisal fees in some market areas. These areas have been designated as High Demand Counties. As a result, the timeliness requirements imposed on appraisers have also been extended. In normal conditions, timeliness starts the first business day after the assignment date.
If an appraisal appointment is canceled, fees are charged based on what stage the appointment was at. This includes:
- If the VA assigned the appraiser to assess a property but had not set the appointment date at the time of cancellation, the appraiser may charge no more than $50.
- If the appointment is canceled after the appointment date was set, the appraiser may charge no more than $175.
- If the appraiser completed the property assessment but did not complete the appraisal report, they may charge no more than 50% of the assigned appraisal fee.
- If the appraiser fully completes the appraisal report and uploads it to the VA website portal, they may charge the total assigned appraisal fee.
Homes Under Construction
For properties that are proposed or under construction, an additional $50 fee may be charged above the standard VA appraisal fee for that property type.
If an appraiser desires reimbursement for mileage expenses, they must submit a request to the Regional Loan Center (RLC) and receive approval before commencing the appraisal. Authorized mileage fees will be charged at the rate set by the General Services Administration (GSA). In exceptional circumstances, such as adverse weather conditions or the need to use off-road vehicles, a flat rate approval may be provided.
At the time of this article’s publication, appraisers are no longer authorized to charge an additional $50 for the appraisal of properties undergoing liquidation. Liquidation appraisal timeliness is the same as typical assignments in the geographical area.
In cases where a re-inspection is necessary, appraisers may charge a flat fee of $150. A re-inspection is common in situations where an initial appraiser identifies necessary repairs the house will need to meet MPRs. Make sure to collect all documentation of the process to help the re-inspection go smoothly.
Can VA Appraisal Fees Be Waived?
VA borrowers cannot waive the cost of an appraisal, as it is a mandatory requirement for obtaining a VA loan. However, the VA will consider requests to waive MPR requirements if certain conditions are met:
- The request must be signed by the Veteran borrower
- The lender must agree with the Veteran’s request
- The property must meet safety, structural soundness and sanitation standards
Understanding the different VA appraisal fees and when they may apply is essential for Veterans using their VA home loan benefits. Knowing the different fees and costs involved helps Veterans make informed decisions when buying a home and contributes to a smooth appraisal process.