The All-Important Home Appraisal
Buying, selling, or refinancing? Here are some facts you need to know about the appraisal process.
Sometimes, the value of a home depends on who you're asking. Since so many people have a stake in the outcome of a real estate transaction—the buyer, the seller, the lender, and the insurance company—an appraiser serves as an objective, independent third party who provides a comprehensive, unbiased valuation of the property. In fact, federal law requires that the real estate appraisal function remain separate from the loan process. So even though a lender collects the appraisal fee, they are prohibited from influencing the selection of any appraiser.
What Do Appraisers Look At?
- Proximity to schools and other community facilities
- Lot size
- Size and overall condition of the home
- Recent sales prices of comparable properties in the neighborhood
For Sellers and Homeowners Refinancing
- Even after you have a signed contract on your home, it is recommended that you keep your home presentable. Your home should still have curb appeal, meaning your yard and the exterior should look well-manicured. And, the interior should be clean and clutter-free.
- The appraiser will need to take photographs of the interior and exterior of the property, so be sure they have access to all areas—including all rooms—of the home at the time of the inspection.
- If you are refinancing and the appraiser was unable to complete the inspection because they did not have access to the home, you may be charged an additional fee if they have to return.
- You also need to make sure all utilities remain on and functional at the time of inspection, otherwise the appraiser will not be able to complete their report and will need to return to the property.