When you’re considering buying a home or selling your own, it’s important that you value the property correctly. This is where home appraisers enter the picture. A home appraiser’s job is to determine the current value of the property they inspect. If you’re trying to buy a home and your appraisal comes back with a lower value than advertised renegotiation may be within your future.
If you’re trying to refinance, a high appraisal value may help you qualify for a lower interest rate. This is because an appraisal determines the value of your home and thus can change the loan-to-value amount when refinancing a home. People hire independent appraisers because a higher valued home gains equity. Which translates to more money within the home or a stronger return on your investment if you decide to sell.
What is the job of an appraiser?
A home appraiser is hired to determine the value of a property. Most of an appraiser’s job is done at the property where the appraiser will:
- Record the layout of the property.
- Take note of code violations, either health or safety.
- Perform a room-by-room walk-through in order to determine interior condition.
- Determine exterior condition by walking the length of the property.
- Assess any amenities (swimming pool, remodeled basement, etc)
How do you know if an appraiser is qualified?
In most cases, when buying a home, your lender will hire the appraiser. Any appraisals should be done by an appraiser who is state-licensed or by one who holds the relevant certifications.
What does an appraiser look for, specifically?
Your appraiser may look at your neighborhood, the property’s structure, the interior of the home, and both yards when determining home value.
Your neighborhood plays an important role in determining the value of your home. Because of this, the appraiser is able to get a good idea about the value of your home before even seeing it. It is common practice for an appraiser to research the neighborhood, before, in order to get a better understanding of your property and to assist them in making a better comparison.
After completing the physical aspect of the appraisal process, the appraiser may review additional information such as county courthouse records to complete the full appraisal report.
Before appraising the inside your home, the appraiser will take a inspect the complete structure of the property. This includes the location, view from property, foundation, roof, and lot size. The appraiser will study the material, quality, and condition of each.
The materials that the home was built with, their quality, installation, and lot size all play major roles in determining how high the appraisal will be. Homes built with cheap materials are valued lower during an appraisal.
Appraisers look for cracks, leaks, upgrades, added features, and amenities to determine home deterioration, age, structural integrity, and code compliance.
Inside the Home
After the structure of the home as been evaluated, the appraiser will enter the home. The appraiser will be inspecting the quality of the walls, your interior flooring, as well as the amount, style, and quality of windows and doors within the property.
Your permanent fixtures will be reviewed as well. This can include appliances, plumbing, and light fixtures. They will be determining the quality of your central air conditioning, fireplace, security system, solar panels, and basically everything in between.
Remember: Extra features within the home often translates to a higher home value.
Who pays for the appraisal?
This can depend upon the specifics of the contract. But usually, whoever is receiving the loan pays for the appraisal. A motivated seller may pay for the appraisal himself if supporting his asking price. This is an added benefit for the buyer as it saves them money down the line.
The average range for an appraisal is between $300 to $600 depending on the property value, location, and size of the home.
How long does it take?
The total time for a full residential appraisal report will vary from home to home. For the actual appraisal visit, it depends upon the property size, but one or two hours is the usual completion time.
Why do I need a home appraisal?
There are many reasons a home appraisal may be necessary. The most common reason being real estate transactions.
You may order an appraisal:
- To obtain a loan.
- To defend against high property taxes.
- To settle an estate.
- To utilize in negotiations during a real estate transaction.
- To assist in determining a reasonable price for the home when selling.
What are the benefits?
An appraisal should be viewed as an investment in the future of your home. Appraisals assist homeowners in many legal disputes, including tax contention and eminent domain cases. Knowing your home value is an important tool to use when pricing your home for sale or trying to get your loan approved for purchase.