Larry, many lenders require an "expense deposit" when they issue a term sheet and start processing your loan. They then underwrite the loan and hopefully approve it. Once the loan is approved and the borrower signs the commitment letter the lender will use the "expense deposit" funds to order third party reports such as appraisal, environmental, etc.
So YES, it is possible to get a commitment letter before spending any significant money for third party reports.
Feb 3, 2010