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 an accurate, 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 or having any substantive communications with appraisers.
A Few Things to Know
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.
- The Realtor® can help set up the appraisal and will let the appraiser into the home.
It is not necessary for the buyer to be present during the appraisal.
- If the appraiser was unable to complete the inspection and has to return to the home because they did not have access, or utilities were not on and working, there could be an additional cost for you, the buyer.
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
- Estimate of the average sales time of the property
After the Appraisal
For Buyers and Refinancing Homeowners
After the appraisal has taken place, you will receive a copy of the approved appraisal report directly from the lender. The appraisal will either be emailed
or mailed, depending on your preference. Regardless of the appraised value, you should receive a copy of the report since you
paid for the appraisal.