Q. Can you tell me why mortgage leaners require an appraisal before they commit their loan? Additionally, although I paid $100 to the lender for the appraisal, they refused to give me a copy for my files. Am I entitled to receive this report?

A. Needless to say, no mortgage lender wants to commit funds on worthless property. Accordingly, all lenders will require an appraisal of the property, usually paid for by the borrower. The range of the appraisal cost is from $75 to $125.

Some mortgage lenders will actually hire an independent appraiser, who will prepare a comprehensive analysis and report, including a picture of the property, and this appraisal will be made available to you upon request. Some lenders, on the other hand, rely on their own employees to assess the value of the property. These appraisers may do nothing more than drive by the property, to assure themselves that the house you are buying exists. The mortgage lender relies on the appraiser's knowledge and expertise of mortgage lending practices and of the area, and no written report is made.

If your mortgage lender refuses to give you the appraisal, although there may be no written report, you can at least be satisfied that your lender is willing to undertake the risk on your property.

However, here's a tip: when you make your loan applocation, ask the mortgage lender if there is a written appraisal, and if you will be able to obtain a copy for your own records. Since you are paying the fee, you should get the report.

Benny L. Kass, a Washington attorney, answers questions through this column. Write him in care of the Real Estate section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW. Washington, 20071.