Why do I need an appraisal? Do I need a survey? Do I need a title search?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executives VA0225060364, MD638478

TitleI just had these three questions posed to me today:


Q: Can a house be sold without an appraisal?

A: A buyer cannot secure a loan without an appraisal. The appraisal assigns a value to the home. This value is what the lender will use to determine how much and if to loan the purchase money to the buyer. The appraisal is ordered by the lender and paid for by the buyer during the loan application process. In the case of a cash buyer, they can still order their own independent appraisal if they wish. After all, an investor or purchaser would not want to pay more for a property than what it is worth right?


Q: Can a house be sold without a surveyor coming by to make sure the lines are correct?

A: Yes a house can be sold without a survey. However, it is the buyer's choice whether or not they want to order a survey. The survey is ordered by the title company (settlement company) and paid for by the buyer. If there are boundary issues, the buyer may ask for the Seller to rectify the problems. If they are not rectified, then the buyer, if he chooses to go forward with the sale, would inherit the boundary issues. A survey will also tell you where any easements are on the property. This includes public easements and utility easements. Easements are portions of the property that are being used by these parties for access to something on or beyond the property or for wires, sewer lines, etc.


Q: Is a title search also required before selling a house? 

A: Yes. A title search is required to determine whether there are any "clouds" on the title.

1- is the person selling the property actually the person on the title and the one allowed to sell the property? Are there any other owners on the title? If so, you will need all parties' consent and signatures or properly executed powers of attorney to go to sell the property.

2 - Are there any liens or is there legal action against the property, or has the owner declared bankruptcy? It is part of the due diligence on the part of the buyer. The seller must present "clear and marketable" title in order to sell. If there are too many clouds on the title, the title may not be insurable (the buyer can't get title insurance) and the buyer may not want to buy the property. After all, who do you know that would willingly inherit problems?

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Cathy Valdiviez Baumbusch, REALTOR. Licensed in VA, MD, and DC. 

Red Dress Realty at RE/MAX Executives

DIRECT: 202-630-2MOV 

8442 Old Keene Mill Rd., Springfield, VA, 22152

2704 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA 22301

Cathy has lived in the DC Metro area since 1996. She currently lives in West Springfield, VA. Licensed since 2001 and serves clients in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Cathy's service area includes Fairfax County, Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church in Virginia and Prince George's, and Montgomery County in Maryland., and of course. 

Cathy has an excellent track record getting short sales approved and closed. Cathy can also facilitate buying and selling real estate anywhere in the world. 

Cathy is a VHDA Certified Trainer and she has taught classes on buying short sales, HUD homes, and foreclosures and social media marketing classes through Fairfax County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education Program. 

Cathy is a retired Army Reserve Major and an accomplished singer with a rock band. She resides in Springfield, VA with her dog and cat.

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Comments (1)

Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216,www.JeremiahNewman.com - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Cathy, These are three good questions for any buyer to consider. Most lenders in Texas will require the buyer to pay for that survey too.

Jun 09, 2011 09:43 AM