When to Expect High Appraisal Fees and/or Appraisal Delays

We recently had a Texas transaction involving a large acreage with a 1 bedroom home and an accessory dwelling unit.

It took us a few weeks just to find an appraiser willing to appraise the property (even though we shopped it very aggressively), and the fee was $1,000!

The delay and the fee caught the agents and the buyer off-guard, prompting this blog.

Buyers and agents alike need to know when to expect higher appraisal fees and delays so they are not caught off guard.


Our standard appraisal fee for a Single Family Home is $550.

An Investment Property appraisal will cost an additional $150 (for the rent survey and operating income form) for a total of $700.

Two to Four Unit appraisals typically cost $750 because of the extra work they require.

I should add that we also always pay a “Rush Fee” of $150, for better service and faster turn-times, but JVM eats that entire fee.

I should also add that we make sure that our entire rush fee actually goes to the appraiser, as this also ensures that we get much better service.

Large Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) retain a substantial portion of every appraisal fee to cover “administrative costs” and this often impairs appraisal quality.


If properties are unique or if appraisals are especially difficult, appraisers will always demand extra fees – as well they should.

Here are a few examples:

  1.  Homes in rural areas where comparable sales are scarce. These appraisals take substantially more time for researching, driving and writing up the full analysis.
  2. Unusually small or large homes. An 800 square foot, 1 bedroom home in a high-end area will require substantial extra work, as will a 10,000 square foot home in any area.
  3. Large lot sizes of 1 to 10 acres, depending on the neighborhood. These appraisals are particularly tough because lenders don’t want to make “land-loans” so appraisers need to show that the value of the property is not entirely in the land. It is also often very difficult to find recent, valid and similar large-lot comparable sales.
  4. Complex properties. We recently paid extra for a 7,000 square foot hillside property because it took the appraiser almost 2 hours just to measure. We also have a duplex transaction in a city with virtually no duplex comps, and it too will require a higher fee. Properties with accessory dwelling units sometimes require higher fees as well.


Many AMCs charge higher fees based on appraised value. This, however, has become somewhat of a scam – particularly in the Bay Area. In cities like Mountain View, California, a 2,000 square foot tract home might sell for as much as $2 million. This would require a substantially higher fee at many appraisal firms even though the appraisal itself will require no more time than it would if the property was located in Georgetown, TX and selling for $200,000.

Hence, we don’t charge higher fees for high-end homes unless the appraisal actually requires substantially more work.

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Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 1197176, NMLS# 310167

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