Today's real estate market affords you quite a bit of freedom throughout the home buying process. You can work by yourself, searching for homes in your neighborhood and can buy directly from the seller. A real estate agent can do the legwork for you, finding home you may be interested in. You can purchase home that is bank owned, meaning they have foreclosed on it; this may also lead to a short sale, the sale of a home for less than what the owners currently owe on that home. Whatever your choices in the real estate market, and no matter how you found that home and no matter the price you're willing to pay, it's always recommended that you have a thorough appraisal done before signing anything. This way you know that what you're buying is worth the price you're paying!

Reasons for Getting a Home Appraisal

  • A home appraisal protects your buying power so that you don't overpay for a home.
  • A home appraisal can give you an idea of the market values of the homes in the neighborhood so that you know if this home is a good investment or not.
  • It may even be a requirement for getting a mortgage!

Paying for the Home Appraisal

  • Often sellers have the home appraised before putting it on the market to know what price they should be asking.
  • If a buyer is required or requests an additional home appraisal, he or she is responsible for the costs.

When a Home Appraisal is Not Necessary

  • If the appraisal done by the seller is relatively recent, it may be acceptable to the bank and all other parties.
  • If you think you don't need the services of an expert and are willing to just buy a home without their opinion.

What an Appraiser Sees

Typically appraisers look at more than just the cosmetics of a home. He or she is interested in the condition of:

  • The roof.
  • The drywall.
  • The flooring materials including the subflooring.
  • The heating, ventilating, and air conditioning units.
  • The wiring.
  • The pluming of the home.
  • The basement of the home and the crawlspace as well.
  • The home's foundation.
  • The general condition of other homes in the neighborhood for comparison purposes.
  • The neighborhood itself, especially in terms of economic growth.

Typically an appraiser uses the information they gather from the home and a computer system that will return values for the home in each area. A detailed report is included in this, not just the bottom line. Of course the asking price may be different than the appraisal; especially if there have been some improvements and upgrades or unique selling features of the home that may mean more value in the eyes of the buyer.