Q: Can you tell my why mortgage lenders require appraisals before they commit their loans? Additionally, although I paid $100 to the lender for the appraisal, the institution 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 $75 to $125.

Some mortgage lenders will actually hire independent appraisers to prepare comprehensive reports. This appraisal will be made available to you upon request.

Some lenders, on the other hand, rely on their own employes to assess the value of property. These appraisers may do nothing more than drive by the property to assure themselves that the house you are buying really exists and is in good shape. The mortgage lender relies on the appraiser's knowledge and expertise with mortgage-lending practices; often 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 application, 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.