How does a "drive-by appraisal" help me bargain better?
If the house you are interested in seems over-priced, there is a new tool to help you get a quick and inexpensive second opinion before you make an offer.
- Consider a limited-scope appraisal
The new, limited-scope appraisals use databases as a source of information to estimate the value of a home. The information comes from prior appraisals, property tax assessments, sale and resale information and, sometimes, a drive-by to come up with a professional estimate in a few hours. The cost is generally under $100.
- Get less than a full appraisal
The more traditional, complete appraisal -- required by lenders for a mortgage loan -- can take several days, usually involves a personal inspection of the interior as well as exterior of the property and costs several hundred dollars.
- Negotiate a more accurate price
Determining the fair value of a home with a quick, limited-scope appraisal before signing a contract may help the buyer negotiate a lower sales price. Also, some lenders now accept limited-scope appraisals for refinancing, thus saving the borrower both time and money.