Finance Blog

Stay financially savvy with the Equifax Advisor.

Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter


Thank you for signing up for the FREE Equifax monthly newsletter

In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.

Understand your credit. Help protect your identity.

Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Know What May Influence Your Credit Score and Be Alerted of Changes
    Credit score monitoring with custom alerts
    Important Disclosure: The Equifax credit score and 3-Bureau credit scores are based on an Equifax credit score model and are not the same scores used by 3rd parties to assess your creditworthiness.¹
  • Help Protect Your Identity
    Automatic fraud alerts encourages lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity²
  • Lock Your Credit
    The ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report³
Save 75% your first 30 days with the purchase of Equifax Complete™ Premier

$4.95 for the first 30 days, then $19.95 per month thereafter. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.4

¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.

³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.

4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.

Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.

How Home Appraisals Work

Written by Steve Cook on May 21, 2014 in Real Estate  |   No comments

You’ve saved for a down payment and worked hard to get approved for a mortgage. After months of looking, you find a great house that meets your needs and fits your budget. Your offer has been accepted. Then you receive a letter from your lender….

buying a homeYou’ve saved for a down payment and worked hard to get approved for a mortgage. After months of looking, you find a great house that meets your needs and fits your budget. Your offer has been accepted.

Then you receive a letter from your lender. Your dream home has appraised 10 percent lower than you anticipated based upon the price upon which you and the seller agreed. The lender is unwilling to give you the loan you need because you’re purchasing a home that’s valued at less than you’re paying, and you don’t have enough cash to increase your down payment or make up the difference. You have to walk away from your dream home, and the sellers are stuck with a home they need to sell.

The appraisal is a key part of the homebuying process. If you are buying or selling a home, here are some things you will need to know about how appraisals work.

What’s an appraisal?

An appraisal is an independent valuation of a property conducted by certified and licensed real estate professionals. Their job is to establish a value for a property based upon the best available market data. The appraisal is designed to protect the lender from extending more in a loan than the collateral—in this case, the house—is worth and to protect a buyer from paying more than the market value of the home.

Why is an appraisal necessary if the buyer and seller have agreed on a price?

Appraisals do not establish a price, they establish market value, and there are important differences between the two. A property’s value is based on a number of things, including location; physical features, such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age, type of construction; and economic conditions.

The price is the amount asked, offered, or paid for a property. Because of a buyer or seller’s financial capabilities, motivations, or special interests, the price paid for a property can be more or less than the actual value ascribed to that property by an appraiser.

What can sellers do to ensure an accurate appraisal?

First, price your home within market parameters. If you list your home with a price tag that is much higher than other properties that have recently sold, you stand a good chance of a low appraisal. Get professional help on pricing, and consider getting an appraisal before you list the home.

When the appraiser visits, provide him or her with a package of information that includes market information from your real estate agent and a list of all improvements and their costs. Review the lender’s appraisal when it is finished to make sure that all the basic facts are correct, including square footage, features of the home, and number of rooms. If you find mistakes, call the appraiser and ask to have them corrected.

Concentrate on building a case for the value of your home and the price you want to set with hard market data. Don’t rely on valuations from Zillow, Trulia, or other websites.

What can buyers to do avoid a low appraisal?

Ask the seller if there is a copy of a recent appraisal for you to review. Carefully review it with your agent to see if it is a fair assessment of the property value based on your research. Your agent can help you establish a fair and competitive asking price based on their knowledge of the market and the valuation of the property. That way, you won’t go under contract on a house only to find that, after your appraisal, the agreed upon price is far too high for the home and the area.

(Read more: The Risks and Benefits of Seller Financing)

Preparing well in advance is the most important thing buyers and sellers can do to prevent a low appraisal. Begin with good research on a home that includes comparable properties and the latest price data. Knowing the price of improvements, even if they are several years old, can make also make a big difference in an appraisal.

In recent years, the appraisal process has undergone several reforms to bring appraisals in line with market realities. You’ll find appraisers are eager for good information that will help them make a more accurate appraisal of the home you seek to buy or sell.

Steve Cook is executive vice president of Reecon Advisors and covers government and industry news for the Reecon Advisory Report. He is a member of the National Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America, and the National Association of Real Estate Editors, where he served as second vice president. Twice he has been named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. In addition to serving as managing editor of the Report, Cook provides public relations consulting services to real estate companies, financial services companies, and trade associations, including some of the leading companies in online residential real estate.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.

No comments yet

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Real Estate Archive