An appraisal is a written report comparing the condition and features of a particular property with others of a similar nature. Its purpose is to produce a professional estimate of the market value of the property. Virtually every mortgage lender requires an appraisal performed by a licensed appraiser. The property must appraise for at least the amount of the purchase price, or the lender will not extend financing. When you apply for a mortgage, your loan officer will immediately want to see a copy of your signed purchase agreement, and then he/she will order an appraisal.
Appraisers are usually chosen on a rotating basis by each lender. It is in your best interest that you do not hire an appraiser on your own, or except an appraisal hired by your seller. Your lender will want to choose an appraiser from his/her approved list.