If you’ve ever bought or sold a house, you’ve probably been through an appraisal. Somebody comes to the house, measures the square footage, snaps pictures of the rooms and then makes an educated guess about what the house is worth. Federal regulations require an appraisal for transactions worth more than $250,000 as a safeguard for lenders and homebuyers. A proposed new rule, awaiting final approval from the Federal Reserve, would raise that threshold to $400,000. Though it could make the homebuying process faster and less expensive, critics say it could also put more buyers at risk of owing more than their homes are worth.
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