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A Frequently Asked Question About VA Appraisal Expiration Dates

There are plenty of common questions about VA loans in general, but there is one that comes up frequently about appraisal expiration dates and whether the appraisal can be re-used prior to that expiration date:

“How long do I have before my appraisal expires?” That’s the typical version of the question. Here’s one not-so-common variation:

“I am in the process of refinancing my house with a VA Loan. This process has been going on for 9 months, and they still haven’t processed my loan. The lender allowed the original appraisal to expire, and ordered another one. The second appraisal came in lower than the original one. Will the VA accept the first appraisal since the process has already been started? Do I need to go to another company to refinance?”

VA appraisals are typically valid for six months. That answers a basic commonly asked question about VA appraisal expiration dates. One important thing to know about VA appraisals is that while they are good for six months, they automatically expire if the loan closes. A borrower cannot use the same appraisal again once the loan has closed. That is true for any transaction requiring a VA appraisal including cash-out refinance loans that are applied for before the original appraisal expired.

When it comes to the specific question reprinted above, the VA is likely to reject an expired appraisal. VA appraisals are designed, like all appraisals, to give fair market value for a property based on the home, comparable homes in the market and the state of the housing market at the time of the appraisal.

When an appraisal expires, it is entirely possible that housing market conditions may have changed or fluctuated since the time of the original appraisal of the home - one reason why a new appraisal would be required once the old one expires.

The value of the home for appraisal purposes is not just based on the construction, condition and age of the home. It is also based on comparable properties in that particular housing market. That is one reason why appraisals exist in the first place. How does the home for sale measure up to other, similar homes in the same market?

Appraisals can’t be reused once they expire, and they can’t be used for the same property once the loan has closed.

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