The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is currently reviewing appraisal charges. While these fees seem fairly standard, the truth about who exactly gets the money is somewhat murky to homebuyers. In addition, I have seen appraisal fees range from $350 to $1000. That is a very wide gap. What is reasonable?
According to industry estimates, in most cases, the person who visits, inspects, measures and puts a market value on your property is receiving only a small portion of the fee you pay. Some appraisers get less than half of the fee and the rest goes to an appraisal management company, who in turn, may be owned by or in a joint venture or affiliate relationship with your lender; which may be pocketing a significant portion of your appraisal dollars.
The CFPB is deciding whether or not to mandate two new disclosures – what the appraiser is paid and what the management company is taking. It would be very interesting to know and why the discrepancy in the fees as well!