Is there ever a scenario where an investor would pay for their own appraisal so they know what to sell their house for and not go through the headache of setting a price only to find that the buyer's appraisal is lower than what the price is set at?
@Sean S. Very rarely. First off, get five appraisers to look at a property, and you'll get five different appraisals. Second, that's a very standard job of your agent - to use their expertise to determine what the selling price of your property may be, and whether or not there is likely to be a discrepancy between that price and an appraiser's determination.
It also doesn't matter who pays for the appraisal, the appraiser is from an independent third party company contracted by the buyer's lender, and most appraisers get super annoyed when somebody tries to influence them and their appraisal.
The only exception to my answer is if you have a very eccentric or unique property that is extraordinarily hard to guage the value of based on traditional means. In that situation, if an agent doesn't feel confident enough in their findings, or if the stakes are very high, it may be beneficial to pay for an appraisal to get some idea of where you might want to be.
But again, that doesn't mean a buyer's lender's appraisal won't be +/- 20%. Appraisers can be a fickle bunch, lol.
Oh, one last thing. In my state, just because a buyer's appraisal does not meet your contract value does not mean you have to lower your price. There may be an expectation that the buyer needs to simply bring in the difference in cash, which your agent would vet their ability to do in the offer review period. I've done that before with some of my listings.
Anyhow, hope that helps!