Appraisal while under contract
We have been looking at a house that is a bit unique in that it is not completed (was foreclosed upon before completed). It has no HVAC, plumbing, sewer, electric service (some wiring done), not all drywall complete, no floor coverings, etc. Therefore, it has been hard to find any comparable houses in the area, in order to determine a fair price.
We submitted an offer which was just under 80% of the asking price, which has been accepted (also, the seller has added an "AS IS" condition to the contract).
The contract (which we haven't yet signed) also has a clause which gives us the right, after we are under contract, to hire a certified appraiser to perform an appraisal, and if the house appraises at less than the purchase price, the seller must either lower the price down to the appraised price, or we can walk away.
I was just wondering if any of you have ever exercised this option?
Also, it it common practice for a potential buyer to hire an appraiser BEFORE signing the contract? If so, that may be the better option for us.
Also, are certified appraisers able to make a pretty accurate assessment of a house which is not yet completed?
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!