Can I wait on the appraisal until after the inspection?

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices NJ Properties

What happens first, what can wait for what?  Appraisals, inspections, second deposits, oh my!!

Here’s how it goes: you make an offer, accompanied by a $1000 good faith initial deposit.  Your Realtor will likely hold this check until the offer is negotiated and you will get it back if the deal doesn’t get agreed on. Your Realtor cannot hold a check for more than five days – so if it takes longer than that to negotiate, it might be deposited into the escrow account and will be returned to you if the purchase agreement is not executed.

Negotiate the contract, sign the contract.


You have three days to get the executed contract to an attorney in order to start attorney review.  The duration of attorney review varies based on the availability of all parties to discuss the contract, make and agree to changes.

Once attorney review is completed you will schedule the inspection and apply for your mortgage.  These two things happen concurrently.  This is an important point to make – you cannot wait for the inspection contingency to be satisfied before you apply for your loan.  This means that you can’t hold off on ordering the appraisal either. If you wait too long to order the appraisal because you don’t want to spend the money you run the risk of missing your mortgage commitment date because you can’t predict what sort of issues might come up and you need to leave time to resolve them.  Losing the money you spent on the appraisal is a risk you have to take in order to continue the process in good faith.

Your second deposit will also likely be due before the inspection contingency is cleared – you can’t wait to write that check; you have to write it when it’s due; you will receive your deposit monies back if the deal falls apart over inspection items (as long as your contract allows for that).

It bears repeating — Ordering the appraisal and submitting the  second deposit are NOT intended to be contingent upon successful negotiation of the inspection items. Doing so may derail your purchase…..

I have had two deals in the last two months that almost fell apart because the buyers held off on making their deposit and ordering their appraisal until they were confident that inspection issues were resolved.  In one case we were having issues with repair requests – tempers were flaring and both parties were upset with the way things were going…having held back on the deposit led the sellers to believe that the buyers were not serious about the transaction and in turn that made them not want to work on the repairs…  In the other scenario, the buyers didn’t want to spend the money on the appraisal until they had resolution on some of the inspection issues (which, by the way, ended up being non-issues, but that’s for another post). Unfortunately, their appraisal came back with a glitch that in ten years neither I nor the buyers agent had ever encountered before!  More than likely this glitch will be resolved but as a result it is holding the sellers up from making their next purchase.  If the appraisal had been ordered when it was supposed to be, there would have been plenty of time to resolve this issue.

Keep your deal on track…. it’s the right thing to do.


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Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Jennifer - Needless to say, the timelines for holding the deposit while negotiating, depositing it after an acceptance, etc. vary from state to state.  We don't have quite as stringent timelines here.  No need for a second deposit after inspections either.  We do typically try to allow enough time in the mortgage contingency to get the inspection done FIRST.  However, I do require that buyers come to the table with a prequalification letter BEFORE we get in the car and start looking.

You don't want to waste 15 minutes on the phone with a lender?  I don't want to waste a tank of gas.  We all have to give a little!


Jan 05, 2012 01:29 PM