Q. Can you tell me why my mortgage lending institution is requiring an appraisal before it will commit a loan on a condominium apartment I intend to buy? And, although I paid $125 for this appraisal, the lender refuses to give me a copy for my files. Am I entitled to one?

A: No lender wants to commit funds on worthless property, so they all require an appraisal, which is usually paid for by the borrower. The cost usually ranges from $75 to $150.

Some lenders actually will hire an independent appraiser to prepare a comprehensive analysis. This appraisal will be made available to you upon request.

On the other hand, some lenders 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 it really exists. The lender relies on the appraiser's expertise and no written report is submitted.

It makes sense to have a single-family house appraised, because the lender doesn't know what condition it is in.

With respect to condominiums, however -- especially for newly converted or constructed projects where the lender is making loans for all the units -- the aded expense of an appraisal is nothing more than a "bounty" in the pockets of the lender. Once a lender has inspected the entire project, I seriously question the need for an additional appraisal of the individual unit.

If you are buying a resale unit, the need for the appraisal is much more evident.

In your case, there is very little you can do, because if you want the loan, you will have to abide the terms of the lender.

But it certainly doesn't hurt to ask for an explanation of why you needed the appraisal.

Even if your lender refuses to give you a copy of the appraisal, you can at least be satisfied that your lender is willing to undertake the risk on your property.

Here's a tip: When you make your loan application, ask the mortgage lender if there is a written appraisal and if you may have a copy for your records. Since you are paying a fee, you should get the report.