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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  JA Mentor
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I am a FIRST-TIME BUYER in Minnesota. I made a purchase

Customer Question

I am a FIRST-TIME BUYER in Minnesota. I made a purchase offer of $227,000 for a 1 BR/1BA condo. I am putting $35,000 down. We close in 3 days. The appraisal just came back at $205,000. The seller obviously doesn't want to come down $22,000 on his price. But I don't want to buy a condo with a market value of $22,000 less than what I'm paying for it. What are my options? Will the lending institution still give me a loan for this property? Doesn't the seller HAVE to come down in his price? (My Realtor is trying to get another appraisal to RAISE the value, but won't this just make me pay more than what the condo is worth?)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

It is entirely possible that the bank won't give you a loan for 10% more than the appraisal value, especially when you're not planning to put 20% down. It makes the transaction riskier for them. There should be a clause in your contract that says the sale is contingent upon you obtaining financing at the agreed price. Look for that clause, because if the bank pulls out, that may give you an out. However, in that scenario, the seller usually gets to keep your earnest money - you could wind up having to pay a deposit for nothing. See what your contract says about that. if you lose financing, you are required to make reasonable efforts to find another loan, but that means the closing will be delayed. Your realtor can talk to the seller about whether they're willing to delay the closing or negotiate the purchase price at all.

Also look for a clause in your contract that says anything about appraisal. Check to see if you can terminate if the appraisal comes in too low and, IF SO, if the seller gets to keep your deposit. The problem is, if you cancel now and the contract doesn't give you an out, the seller can sue you for the difference between the $227k you agreed to pay and the money he gets from another buyer. Which again means you could wind up paying thousands of dollars for literally nothing.

As far as a second appraisal goes, the house is "worth" whatever the appraisal says it is. So if a legitimate appraiser finds reasons that he believes the house is worth $227,000, then you'd be paying what the house is legally worth. When you go to sell, people will be looking at that appraisal and what you paid. Also, if your loan includes Primary Mortgage Insurance, a higher appraisal will help you eliminate that extra expense sooner. It's possible that the first appraiser missed details that makes this property unique/worth more, especially if he based his appraisal on comparable sales in the area and didn't enter the house to inspect it personally. So, a second appraisal is pretty common in this situation.

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