The Home Appraisal Process: What Is It and How Does It Work?

August 3rd, 2021
Costs and Taxes

When you intend to buy or sell a house, you should know the realistic worth of the property. As the name implies, a home appraisal is the process of determining the monetary value of the house in question – in other words, how much you could get if you sold the house or how much you may have to pay if you bought it.

However, the entire process is not entirely straightforward. There are multiple steps that need to be taken before the value of the can be determined. And waiting on the appraisal can be a stressful experience, especially if you are unclear about the process. For this reason, we will explain what a home appraisal is and how it functions.

What Is a Home Appraisal?

Let’s first provide a more detailed answer to the question – “what is a home appraisal?”. A home appraisal is the procedure of determining the fair market value of your property by a certified appraiser.

While the term fair market value is broad, it can be defined as the potential value of a property if neither the buyer nor the seller were under any compulsion to buy or sell, and both parties were aware of all the relevant facts.

In essence, it is a reasonable estimate based on an analysis of the property and the current market conditions. Of course, this does not mean that you have to sell your house for its estimated fair market value.

Negotiations still come into play and the final price can vary significantly, but the fair market value is just what the term indicates – the proposed monetary value of a fair offer at the current market conditions.

Is a Home Appraisal Always Necessary?

No, it mostly depends on whether you are buying or selling. If you are selling your house, you could get it appraised to learn what a realistic asking price would be. It may help with the sale, but you are under no obligation to get it done. If you are 100% sure about your asking price, the appraisal may be superfluous.

However, if you wish to buy a house, you’ll probably need to get it appraised first, unless you will not be taking out a loan. Most lenders require you to get the property you intend to buy appraised before they issue a loan.

The Home Appraisal

The Home Appraisal Process

The appraisal is usually performed by an independent third party. The appraiser will first check the basic condition of your home. They do not go into the finer details, such as inspecting the functionality of your outlets or evaluating the decor of your house.

They are interested in the general physical characteristics – the square footage of your house, the lot size, the number and layout of the rooms, and the age of your home. The appraiser will also inspect the basic health and safety conditions and determine the functionality of systems that are fixtures of the home, such as the HVAC system.

In essence, they are looking at permanent or permanently attached parts of your house. A home appraisal does not focus on things that are not affixed to the property. So, your furniture, curtains, the color of your walls, etc. are not important from this perspective.

The appraiser will also examine the neighborhood characteristics, as location plays a big part in determining the value of a house. They will look at the local housing market and compare the prices of recently sold homes in the area to determine the fair market value of your property.

To simplify everything, a home appraisal consists of two broad segments: 1) examining the condition of the home itself and 2) analyzing the market conditions of the home’s location. The price of your home will be determined by the appraiser combining and evaluating these two segments.

The Difference Between a Home Appraisal and Inspection

We should note that a home appraisal is not the same as a home inspection. While an appraiser does not focus on the smaller details, the inspector does. They will check what works and doesn’t and recommend fixes and repairs. The inspector intentionally looks for problems; the appraiser does not.

Let’s say your house doesn’t have working plumbing. The appraiser will notice and include it in the appraisal. Conversely, if the house that is being appraised has functional plumbing, that’s good enough for most appraisers.

An inspector, on the other hand, will not be satisfied with “functional.” They will check for any leaks and look at how the plumbing is installed. Once they are done with the inspection, they recommend what repairs need to be done.

How Long Does a Home Appraisal Take?

There is no set time limit to a home appraisal. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get it all done. It depends on the availability of the appraiser, the applicable laws, the physical inspection itself (although once the appraiser is actually at your home, it’s over relatively quickly), and the time to compile the report.

How Much Does a Home Appraisal Cost?

This cost of the appraisal also varies and will depend on its complexity. To get a single-family home appraised, you can expect to pay around $300-400. If you are getting a very large property appraised, you shouldn’t be surprised if the appraisal costs $1,000 or more.

Can I Sell My House Without Getting It Appraised?

Absolutely. You can contact SleeveUp Homes and request an offer for your house. Because we do all of the repairs and fixes ourselves and don’t work with realtors (thus excluding commissions), we can offer you top dollar for your house, regardless of the state it is in.

SleeveUp Homes has been in the real estate business for years, and we can give you insight into the home appraisal process. We provide cash offers to owners of distressed properties, older homes, and owners in danger of foreclosure. We’re not realtors or wholesalers, we buy direct from you and give you the fairest possible price for your property. If you don’t want to go through the process of selling your home on your own, or you need to avoid foreclosure, SleeveUp Homes can help. We buy and rehab homes directly from homeowners, and we perform any repairs required to get a home into sale condition. We cut out the realtors and wholesalers so that we can pay top dollar for your house regardless of its condition.

If you’re ready to sell your home for a fair price without the hassle, contact us today to get an offer.