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Nila Sweeney
Q. I recently refinanced and received a property valuation that was well below a previous valuation I had six months earlier. This meant that mortgage insurance was payable. When I asked the lender if I could have a second opinion they said no. Was I entitled to a second opinion?
 
A. Each lender contracts the valuations of its borrowing clients out to a panel of trusted valuers. As a borrower, you may only use a valuer if it’s accredited with your lender.
 
However, even if your lender has several valuers on its panel, you may not be entitled to choose between them, or have a ‘second opinion’ carried out.
 
Most lenders allocate valuation jobs to valuers on a postcode basis, with each valuer taking responsibility for a unique set of postcodes. Check with your lender to see if there’s more than one valuer allocated to your postcode, in which case you may be able to request a second opinion – although you’ll probably have to foot the bill for it. (average around $250). In my experience it is pretty rare for residential valuers to get it wrong.
 
Given current market conditions, the value of the property may well have decreased. If this is the case, you might instead ask yourself whether it was the right time to refinance.
 
In the current market, It may be an idea to ask that a valuation be completed before you proceed too far down the refinance path.

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