Who pays for an appraisal, the seller or buyer?
The buyer pays for the appraisal through their bank or mortgage lender. The lender sets up the appraisal through their own appraisers and you pay the fee so you can't have an appraiser you know to appraise the property you hope to buy. Usually at closing the buyer pays the cost. Both buyers and sellers pay closing costs.
The buyer usually pays a little more because a portion of your new homes taxes are held in escrow and then you have attorneys fees, lenders fee etc... The seller pays for their own attorneys fees and other miscellaneous things as well. There is title insurance, recording fees and a whole bunch of other fees that go into a buyers closing cost.
Typically the buyer pays for an appraisal, but it's always negotiable. With home prices declining and sellers becoming more motivated to sell, it's not unusual to have them pay for an appraisal or reimburse the buyer at closing.
A good example of sellers paying for appraisals is in the new home developments. Besides other tangible incentives offered by developers now days, they're also sharing the cost to close escrow, including, but not limited to, the appraisal of the property. It's a good incentive, considering that it's a drop in a bucket compared to the cost of the property and carrying cost for the seller.