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.